Why people should wear masks

As a health care provider, several months ago I was examining an elderly patient who was quite ill with cough and shortness of breath. COVID-19 had just become an issue so he and I both had simple masks on but due to circumstance, I did not have on any other protective equipment, not even an N95 mask. During the exam he could not stop his vigorous cough, while my face was very close to his as I listened to his chest. He needed to be admitted and the next day I learned he had COVID-19.

During the next two weeks I planned my will, had multiple panic attacks, and went through the five stages of accepting my death, all related to the certainty that I was going to get COVID and die. As you might have guessed, I did not get COVID nor did I die. I relate this story to illustrate the power of the mask in preventing the transmission of COVID.

Two big problems related to COVID are that, first: Once you get it, it may be two weeks before you start having symptoms. And second: it appears to be transmitted before you get sick.

During that two weeks after you “get it,” while you still feel fine, you may be spreading it to others.

This is the reason for wearing masks, even in an area that has not yet had a serious outbreak.

Bob Lodato

Charleston

NECEC good for Maine

I am a proud supporter of the New England Clean Energy Connect. This project will bring needed jobs to Maine and significantly reduce our carbon footprint. Opponents have pointed out issues they feel need to be addressed, and they have been. Despite this, it is never enough.

At first, they demanded the line be run under the Kennebec Gorge. Central Maine Power and the NECEC said no problem. Then opponents screamed the corridor was too wide! Enter the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The width of the corridor has now been reduced to just 54 feet, down from 150 feet. But what about the destruction of the Maine wilderness? Again, that is not an issue. The corridor will go through working forests harvested by Maine’s lumber industry for decades. Also, CMP has agreed to preserve 40,000 acres of land. The corridor will only affect 2,000 acres, twenty times less.

Along the way, the NECEC also agreed not to use herbicides or pesticides on the new section of corridor. Critics ask, what does Maine get from the NECEC? Plenty including reduced energy prices, increased property tax revenues, jobs, and cleaner air thanks to renewable hydropower replacing the dirty fossil fuels most of us now use.

Despite all these modifications, opponents still say the corridor is a bad deal for me. Meanwhile, the agencies in charge of protecting Maine’s land and environment both agree this project is good for Maine. I will take my cue from them.

James Nevins

Manchester

Free COVID-19 coverage

I was saddened to see that the Bangor Daily News has stopped providing completely free coverage of the SARS-CoV-19 pandemic. It has been my source for local news on the pandemic since early March. You proudly announced that this coverage would be free with a little banner/sticker on each news story pertaining to the virus, and now have quietly rolled that back.

I realize you probably didn’t anticipate having the story go on for months and months, but as we now know, it will be with us for a long time. Please reconsider or at least explain your reasoning.

Mary Duffy

Cape Elizabeth

A small price to pay

Joplin, Missouri. A town I moved from three years ago. A town where I have friends. A town that made news important enough to rate a write up in the Washington Post. Why? Because enough selfish, uncaring people refused to wear the same masks in public places and Joplin became a new hot spot for COVID-19.

The same kind of rhetoric was used, along the lines of: “I have a right to not wear a mask,” and “The government doesn’t have the right to dictate to me,” and “I’m not afraid of COVID-19” and “COVID-19 is a lie and a hoax.” Well, I certainly hope these people are proud. The numbers of cases in Joplin and the surrounding area jumped from 60 to over 1,200 in less than a month. Hospital areas set aside for virus cases had been hardly used previously.

Now, thanks to selfish people, these areas are going to be extremely busy. Four hundred workers in one plant tested positive. Perhaps uncaring citizens are smart enough to do the math to recognize the potential number of contacts made by 400 infected persons. No masks required or enforced at the time.

Am I tired of wearing a mask? Am I tired of restrictions? As temperatures rise, am I more uncomfortable under a mask? Do I at times feel claustrophobic? Yes, yes, yes, yes. A small price to pay to keep my area from being written up in the Washington Post as a new COVID-19 hot spot.

Diane M. Parker

Jonesport

Gotta be tough

In regard to the opinions from Professor Stephen F. Thode of Pennsylvania, I thank him for choosing to stay away from Maine this summer. Mainers are working to overcome the COVID-19 virus. Our governor is concerned with our health and long-term economic welfare.

We understand that it’s difficult to navigate the testing guidelines to leave other states or enter Maine. I hope Thode realizes that the faulty process is not of our making. He knows, after visiting Maine for 45 summers, that we are not a wealthy state.

Maine officials are working overtime to juggle issues generated by a crisis which has not happened in 100 years. With the latest known information, leaders are charged with making their best decisions, though they are not popular with everyone.

Thode may also have noticed that we are a state with a large population that is affected most harshly by the virus. While you are looking at the ruling as an affront, we over 60 may be looking at it as a reprieve.

We will welcome him back to his native state when it’s deemed safe to do so. In the meantime, as to quote Willie Nelson, “You got to be tough to get through this kind of stuff.”

Mary Gilman

Belfast