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Letters, March 17

Social distancing saves lives

We are in strange and disorienting times. The coronavirus that emerged in China at the end of December 2019 is upending all our lives.

We do not know the extent to which the coronavirus has spread to Southern Oregon. We do know, however, that the decisions we make today will make a big difference as to how the epidemic plays out in the valley.

Estimates are that between 40% and 70% of the population will eventually be infected with coronavirus. For around 80% of these cases the symptoms will be nonexistent to mild. However, for a relatively few they could be severe.

Those at the highest risk are the elderly and those with chronic health issues such as heart and lung disease. For Ashland this could mean 6,300 infections, 900 hospitalizations and around 300 would need ICU-level care. Anything that you can do to slow the rate of infection will help. If we all work together, we can change how many are infected and save lives.

Please follow the CDC recommendations.

1. Clean your hands often.

2. Avoid close contact with others.

3. Stay home if you are sick.

4. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

Nathan Funk, MD, FACC

Ashland

More info needed on timber sale

I am writing to alert you and your readers to the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed Bear Grub Timber Sale. This sale, which purports to diminish fire risks, proposes various logging treatments over an enormous swath of land from Talent to Applegate.

The BLM is currently preparing an Environmental Assessment, but has provided little information to the public about the sale. Based on the scant information provided, community members believe that the proposed “group selection” logging is a form of clearcutting that will exacerbate fire danger by causing the regrowth of dense, fire-prone vegetation. We are also concerned that the treatments will harm habitats and wildlife, including several endangered species.

It appears that there has been no consideration of climate change, nor the potential impacts on visitor-serving businesses whose customers are drawn by our wonderful scenery. No information has been provided about cutting new roads to access remote logging sites. Last but not least, substantial logging treatments are proposed in the beloved and pristine Wellington Wildlands.

Please join us in urging BLM to hold a community meeting to explain their proposal before they complete their environmental review process.

Liza Crosse

Applegate Valley

Will a virus do it?

Impeachment couldn’t do it. Will a microscopic virus causing COVID-19 bring down “Dr.” Donald Trump?

Edith Montgomery

Ashland

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