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36,000 Lives Would Have Been Saved

 I must take issue with Dave Stegmaier’s Open Forum Commentary published in the Winchester Star on May 30th.  Mr. Stegmaier seems to think that President Trump’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic has been successful in saving American lives.  However, a recent study by researchers at Columbia University estimated that if lockdown procedures had started just a week earlier in March 36,000 lives would have been saved and if the lockdown started on March 1st (2 weeks earlier), then 83% of the fatalities could have been avoided.  The President spent the first two months of the year denying that the pandemic was a problem. Throughout January, February and March he ignored warnings from his medical experts, military and even his economic advisors about the havoc an epidemic of Covid-19 could cause, insisting that it “was under control”, “only a small number of people are affected” and “it would magically go away”.  He didn’t use the Federal Government resources to obtain PPE and other medical needs making states bid against each other and raising costs.  He has ignored the science and a playbook that was prepared by previous administrations on handling pandemics and hasn’t set an example about the importance of wearing masks in controlling the spread of the virus.  His whole administration has been totally inept in handing this crisis and lives have been lost and the economy hurt due to his ignoring the science and relying on his own impulses.  
 As far as voting by mail goes, Mr. Stegmaier implies that this method of voting would destroy the integrity of our election system.  Five states, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii, and Utah, use a vote by mail system for all registered voters that has worked well for a number of years.  The systems have been shown to be as secure as voting in person and they have increased voter turnout as well as decreased the costs to the localities over voting in person.  In this time of a pandemic, it would also be much safer than voting in person, especially in those localities where there are lines that can take hours for a voter to finally be able to cast their ballot.  It is laughable that Mr. Stegmaier talks about ballot harvesting since the only recent case of this occurred in North Carolina in 2018 where Republicans harvested ballots even though it was illegal and they even filled out some of the ballots for the Republican candidate.  The Republican candidate had to withdraw after an investigation and a special election was subsequently held.  
 Finally, I know Dave Stegmaier and know that he is an honorable, church-going man.  I would ask him and all other people of faith who support Donald Trump how they square their religious beliefs with the president’s constant lying, bullying tactics, treatment of women, racist comments, and separation of families with young children at the borders.  Please think and pray about that. 

Anne Bacon is a resident of Winchester
Bill Fuller

Bill Fuller

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