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How many deaths are OK when restarting economy?

To the editor:

I participated in the virtual town hall of Sen. Jake Corman and Rep. Fred Keller on May 21. I noticed that the questions that were being accepted seemed geared toward pushing a narrative and not addressing the concerns of those of us that recognize the dangers this pandemic is having on individuals and families’ health and life.

My question was not asked at the town hall but I submitted it via email as follows: Being that we are currently experiencing approximately 10,000 Americans dead each week with a notable number of them being Pennsylvanians. The GOP has determined that this is an acceptable rate of deaths for us to “get back to work.” As the scientists have told us, this rate will only rise as we end the lockdown particularly since we do not have adequate testing, tracking and tracing for those whom are asymptomatic and potentially infectious. With this in mind I would like to know what death rate has the GOP deemed the upper threshold of this cost:risk ratio. Or, at what death rate will we be locking down again and why is this acceptable to you? Thank you for your time and I look forward to your response so I can share it with my community.

I did not received a response from Rep. Keller. The response I got from Sen. Corman basically boils down to the talking point stated by his Legislative Assistant “We cannot let the cure be worse than the disease.” To which I responded:

Thank you Ms. Albert,

I appreciate your surprisingly candid response which I did not expect.

I hear and respect the core point that people are suffering from the shutdown due to ancillary affects such as suicide, domestic violence and other tragedies of these times. I too am experiencing anxiety levels I never imagined.

Unfortunately I find your response to be wholly inadequate and logically flawed as that the number of individuals you are suggesting will be harmed is dwarfed (miniscule really) by the exponentially higher number of people that have already and will continue to die from the pandemic.

The fact that the Senator is using the talking point “We cannot allow the cure to be worse than the disease” that was put out by the same incompetent moron whose failure to read allowed months to pass before acting at the cost of tens of thousands of American lives is HORRIFYING to me and tells me this position is about politics and not people.

This political position makes no sense to me as that the only ones that will recklessly return to unsafe environments and thusly will be disproportionally infected by this virus, are Donald Trump’s base. That base is a minority that is shrinking. It is political suicide to stick with Trump.

Senator Corman needs to be a leader and stand up to the cancer that has taken over the party otherwise, thinking Republicans will see the obvious towing of the party line that has made a calculated decision to ignore science to increase profits for a class of people that have determined that it is in their interest to allow 10,000 Americans to die every week in order to save the stock market.

I believe it was the senator that said something like “my mind is not burdened with a law degree.” I would point out to him that his mind is also not burdened with a virology degree. I beg Senator Corman to take his direction from those who know more than he does and that is most definitely not the current President of the United States.

Though I can’t imagine that the GOP of the commonwealth sat around and calculated that this cost:risk ratio has been acceptable, I guarantee that people in Donald Trump’s sphere have. After all, businesses don’t make any decisions without considering the cost whether that be in dollars or lives. Remember that the first attempt to build the Panama Canal was halted only when the death rate made it economically impossible to continue.

I truly believe the vast majority of Pennsylvanians do not want our measure of success to be “as long as we don’t overwhelm the hospital system, we’re good.” This is a morally reprehensible position that is antithetical to a pro life stance. You can’t argue to save the life of a ball of cells created by a rapist while asking people to risk the lives of their families to save an economy that does not favor them.

It was one thing to be with Trump when he was just lying about the weather and crowd sizes but now that he is mussing aloud about injecting disinfectants, it is time to dump Trump and be a real Republican again and stand up for the hardworking backbone of this country and not the 1%.

Thank you for your time and stay safe.

Eric Becht

Mifflintown

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