In this file:


·         Let’s be clear; this pandemic is nowhere near over.

·         Mask or no mask? Issue seems to put people at odds

·         As cases surge in US, rural areas seeing increases as well

·         ‘Exhausted’ by customers’ rage over wearing masks, California taco chain shuts down



No mask, no treatment

Let’s be clear; this pandemic is nowhere near over.


Dr. Richard Raymond, Feedstuffs  

Jun 26, 2020


It is a good thing I am no longer in a position to influence or enforce policy because this is what I would recommend to my governor if still the Chief Medical Officer for Nebraska.


You don’t wear a face mask to protect vulnerable citizens, you don’t deserve to move to the top of the list to get treatment just because you are young and they are old or infirm.


And I would get fired, because Nebraska’s current Gov. Pete Ricketts, has made the following public statement; if local public health officials mandate mask wearing, no federal COVID relief money will be coming from his office to their departments (to paraphrase).


Let’s be clear; this pandemic is nowhere near over.


On June 25, we set a new record for new COVID cases with a total of 37,667. June 24 there were 34,313 new cases. June 23 saw 26,657 new cases. On June 3 there were mere 14,767 new cases of COVID diagnosed. Are you seeing a trend the wrong direction?


On June 24 there were 784 new deaths from COVID-19. We stand, on June 25, at 121,717 dead and 2,336,615 cases diagnosed.


In week 20 of 2020, 28% of U.S. deaths were from pneumonia, influenza or COVID. The normal peak in flu season is around 7%.


With the reopening of restaurants, bars, athletic training camps, libraries and other venues for the public to gather, not to mention the riots that saw hundreds without masks, this was inevitable.


Do not get me wrong; I need to get out and watch the grandkids compete in their sports before I go nuts. I am desperate to get to my favorite Thai restaurant. I want to feel comfortable hand-picking out my favorite steak, not be at the mercy of the grocery stores employees to select the ones for curb side pickup that would likely be discarded or ground at the end of the day.


But for crying out loud, please wear a mask when out in public, wash your hands after handling anything possibly shared with others (like mail, newspapers, groceries, gas pumps, etc.) and keep your social distancing.


Until we have a vaccine, this is the only way we can slow the spread.


All those safety measures seem to be flying out the window.


It’s okay to wear a life jacket when water skiing, a helmet when snow skiing or riding a bike, to use sunscreen and to wear a seat belt to protect us. But when asked to wear a mask to protect the vulnerable population many become outraged.


Why are we making this so difficult?


We still require face masks in public buildings here in Larimer County, but not in neighboring Weld County, which has an infection rate per 100,000 residents that is six times higher than ours is.


Cause and effect? Likely a factor.


But just last week I suited up and ventured into a grocery store to buy some swordfish steaks that were not available curb side. I watched two couples walk by the signs announcing the county ordinance requiring face masks and the store employee at the door to make certain people obeyed that law.


As soon as they got past the employee they ripped their masks off and stuffed them in their pockets.


I put them in the same category as the big burly men dressed in leather that attend public meetings discussing mandatory motorcycle helmet laws and try to intimidate, the antiabortionists who bomb clinics and kill physicians and the anti-vaccine crowd that threatens policy makers.  


Face masks, why wear them?


Not to protect you, but to protect others.


The N 95 masks the health care providers wear help protect them because they are special material and they are form fitted for a seal.


The mask you made or got off Ebay or from Amazon does not protect you. It protects others near you if you are an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. Your cough or sneeze is contained by the mask.


So you macho people out there that say “No one is going to tell me what to do, because I am young and healthy and I have read that that group does not get sick” please consider this.


You are mostly correct, but I am old with high blood pressure and my daughter has Multiple Sclerosis and takes an immune system modifier. We are at risk, and you put us at more risk if you do not wear a mask.


To quote Dr. Jonathan Reiner of George Washington University; “Going out in public without a mask is like driving drunk. Even if you don’t get hurt, you might kill somebody else.”


With more than 120,000 deaths in the U.S. and case counts rising in 29 states, it is hard to say that this is going well and we should relax and not listen to public health officials advising us on how to protect ourselves and others around us.


And those public health officials are being threatened. Social media is being used to spread death threats and make anti-Semitism and transphobia comments that were unheard of in years past…





Mask or no mask? Issue seems to put people at odds


By Darla A. Baker, Tehachapi News (CA)

Jun 28, 2020


To don or not to don. That is the question.


The debate over wearing of masks is heating up across the country. As we move deeper into the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, the only thing that has become clear is that there is no clear answer to this question ... or is there?


Last week during the first televised Coronavirus Task Force press briefing held in some time, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the country, "Wear face masks in public."


During that same press briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, continued to urge the country to wear face coverings while social distancing.


In a June 18 news release, California Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote, "Simply put, we are seeing too many people with faces uncovered — putting at risk the real progress we have made in fighting the disease."


The argument, however, is whether face masks are an effective form of protection from the coronavirus.


Seeking the public's opinion, Tehachapi News recently took a poll, asking readers if they felt comfortable going out in public barefaced or if they preferred the protection of a mask.


As of Sunday, 38.8 percent of our readers responded that they absolutely wear a mask every time they go in public; 26.2 percent said they refuse to wear a mask in public; and 34.9 percent said it depends on the situation.


"I feel like the masks not only keeps everybody's germ off of you, but it keeps your germs to yourself. We all need to be mindful and respectful of others. I know none of us like to wear them, but we must do our part to get this pandemic over with," said Mindy Martindale, of Tehachapi, who spent part of her time in quarantine making masks for others.


Annette Kirby, of Tehachapi, said she wears a mask, not so much to protect herself, but to protect others.


"I wear a mask because I would have no idea if I was an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier. Do I like it? Not especially. Am I going to continue to care about the health of my community? Yes," Kirby wrote on the Facebook poll.


Kathy Fong, of Tehachapi, however, said she does not wear a mask.


"I do not wear a mask because we've been told time and time again that unless it's a certain type of mask, it's ineffective, especially the types of masks that everyone is wearing, and it's potentially hazardous to the wearer. However, if someone else feels safer and wants to wear one, it's their choice. Unfortunately, mask wearers don't seem to want to give me the same consideration when I choose not to wear one," Fong wrote on the Facebook poll.


Some readers responded by saying that they wear a mask because they possess a co-morbidity.


"I have lung damage from valley fever, so yes, I wear one every time I shop for essentials. I get enough eye rolling by maskless women (and men) when I am trying to practice social distancing at Home Depot and Albertsons," wrote Jean Wilson, of Tehachapi, in an email.


Other readers responded that they don't wear a mask because they have an underlying medical condition...





As cases surge in US, rural areas seeing increases as well


The Associated Press

via Statesville Record & Landmark (NC) - Jun 29, 2020


For many states and counties in the U.S., the dark days of the coronavirus pandemic in April unfolded on their television screens, not on their doorsteps. But now, some places that appeared to have avoided the worst are seeing surges of infections, as worries shift from major cities to rural areas.


While much of the focus of concerns that the United States is entering a dangerous new phase has been on big Sunbelt states that are reporting thousands of new cases a day — like Texas and Florida — the worrying trend is also happening in places like Kansas, where livestock outnumber people.


In early June, Kansas looked to be bringing its outbreak under control, but its daily reported case numbers have more than doubled in recent weeks. On June 5, the seven-day average for daily new cases hovered at around 96; by Friday, that figure was 211. As cases rise, the U.S. Army commander at Fort Riley in the state’s northeast ordered his soldiers to stay out of a popular nearby restaurant and bar district after 10 p.m.


Idaho and Oklahoma have seen similarly large percentage increases over the same three-week period, albeit from low starting points. In Oklahoma, the seven-day average for daily new cases climbed from about 81 to 376; Idaho’s jumped from around 40 to 160.


Many rural counties in states including California, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Texas and Florida have seen their confirmed cases more than double in a week, from June 19 to Friday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Lassen County, California, went from just nine cases to 172, and Hot Spring County, Arkansas, went from 46 cases to 415; both spikes were attributed to outbreaks at prisons. Cases in McDonald County, Missouri, more than tripled after Tyson Foods conducted facility-wide testing at a chicken plant there.


Missouri itself is seeing a worrying trend, and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas ordered employees and patrons of businesses to wear masks, when 6 feet (about 2 meters) of separation isn’t possible.


“Case numbers in Kansas City continue to rise, and we are taking all steps we can to ensure public health and safety,” the Democrat said Friday.


Across the state line, Kansas City, Kansas, and the county it’s in also decided to order masks be worn in public starting Tuesday.


But many politicians, even those in place with spiking cases, have been hesitant to issue such orders, as subject has become a political lightning rod, with Democrats more likely than Republicans to use them...





‘Exhausted’ by customers’ rage over wearing masks, California taco chain shuts down


By Don Sweeney, The Sacramento Bee (CA)

June 29, 2020


Diners at two Los Angeles taco stands have screamed, cursed and thrown drinks on employees trying to enforce a “no mask, no service” policy, the Los Angeles Times reports.


It’s become so exhausting that Hugo’s Tacos has closed down both shops to give workers a break, owners wrote in a post on Twitter.


“All because of a simple question: Can we ask you to put on a mask? Can we offer you a mask?” said part-owner Bill Kohne, according to the Los Angeles Times. The company has been serving tacos for 15 years, owners wrote in the Twitter post.


Incidents, often captured on video, of people refusing to wear masks or trying to force their way into businesses without masks have been reported in recent weeks across the United States.


California is one of several states that have implemented mandatory mask orders in public to try to contain a resurgence in coronavirus cases. But some people argue that mask orders are an infringement on their freedoms.


Nabor Prado says Hugo’s Tacos employees have been on the front lines of the face mask controversy, KNBC reported. One man became so enraged he attacked workers.


“He got a cup of water and (threw) the water at my employee, which is unsafe and rude,” Prado said, according to the station. “It’s really sad to see grown up people doing childish things like that.”


Workers, who are mostly Latino, also have been called racial epithets by customers who have demanded refunds and thrown drinks through drive-up windows, the Los Angeles Times says.


“It’s just gotten more difficult to open every day in an environment where you’re treated with hostility and venom,” Kohne said, KTTV reported...