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Bill Gerling

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" stated Ben Franklin. People have worn masks and socially isolated during pandemics since the Black Plague in the 17th century. Even before science confirmed the spreading of virus by airborne germs people knew from experience these were effective to contain the spread. Why then do we have Americans resisting these preventive measures? Why do some people believe they have the freedom to go unmasked to possibly infect everyone else or to be infected themselves? Public health experts have spent months emphasizing that masks and social distancing are two of the most important tools in fighting the pandemic.

President Trump has politicized mask-wearing and social distancing to the detriment of the American people, to himself, his supporters, and his staff. At least 12 people who were involved in recent events the president attended have become infected. Pictures of him introducing his Supreme Court nominee show a mostly unmasked crowd of perhaps 150 people; several are now infected.

After receiving and continuing to receive the best medical care available, he ignored the real lessons with an SUV drive-by and putting two Secret Service personnel at risk in a hermetically sealed car. He timed his hospital departure to eliminate all daily news coverage to return to the White House and then promptly removed his mask. He said he has learned much from his experience but this action showed otherwise. He is still trying to project the image of a physically tough (not weak like his opponents), invulnerable man who wants us to believe that we shouldn't take simple preventive measures to protect ourselves and others. He wants people, businesses, and schools to return to normal and ignore that 210,000 people have died. More will die because of his lack of leadership, inaction, and distortions of information about this virus.

He said early in the pandemic that he didn't have any responsibility for delays in testing; governors should get their own PPE; and he spread misinformation about hydroxychloroquine, bleach and vaccines. He has told the FDA not to accept the CDC's guidelines for the timing and implementation for the use of vaccines. Facebook has taken down a Trump claim the seasonal flu caused 100,000 deaths per year when the 10-year average is 36,000. Re-election is his only motivation, not public health.

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