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Letters, Nov. 28

Respect facts; control feelings

While you’re publishing numbers about COVID-19 cases, you might refer to Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, which emails a daily newsletter clocking the pandemic worldwide.

Tuesday’s report on the U.S. included this fact: It took us 96 days in the U.S. to get from 0 cases to 1 million. It’s now taking us just five days to surge from 11 million to 12 million. The number of deaths is also increasing exponentially.

More facts from the same day: A recent study of mask use in Kansas finds that in counties where masks were mandated, the number of COVID transmissions dropped 6%. If that doesn’t sound like much, in counties without a mandate, transmissions increased 100%. These figures confirm previous comparative studies.

I desperately want to return to “normal,” and the facts tell us that the only path to all-around health is to show the grit and backbone Americans are supposed to be known for, i.e., stick to the protocols — masks and social distancing.

To receive the daily newsletter: www.centerforhealthsecurity.org.

Molly Tinsley

Ashland

Can’t wait to get on the road again

Good news! One outcome of Coronavirus is reduction in transportation greenhouse gas emissions. Bad news! It’s temporary.

Needed: major investments and policy changes. Gov. Brown isn’t waiting for D.C. Her Executive Order 20-04 requires considering climate change impacts and integrating emission-reduction goals into all planning budgets, investments and policy decisions. Transportation produces 40% of Oregon’s regulated emissions, and kills hundreds of folks a year — even as policy doesn’t meet the needs of people w/o their own vehicles.

Expanding roads is not the answer! Let’s focus on multiple, safe biking/walking routes, invest in zero transmission vehicle (ZTV) technology, offer incentives to purchase ZTVs and electric bikes, and improve the network of charging stations.

The Oregon Global Warming Commission is finalizing its 2020 biennial report to the Legislature. Check it out: https://www.keeporegoncool.org.

Before embarking on the road again, adopt the following habits: No idling, observe speed limit (each 5 mph above is 15 cents’ added gas cost), avoid cargo hauling on roof, remove excess weight, use cruise control, properly inflate tires, combine errands, walk, bike. Avoid any fossil (natural) gas as a transportation fuel; it’s neither natural nor clean!

Louise D. Shawkat

Ashland

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