Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023 |
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Masks don’t bring
Reading Monday’s letter from Stefanie Nolff describing her recent arrest for not wearing a mask really distressed me. I can easily understand why Ms. Nolff has such a high level of anxiety connected with wearing a mask. I would be fearful, too, if it were true that wearing a mask makes it more likely to catch COVID-19. Especially, if it were true that WHO and CDC made that statement.
And then hearing of Finland’s, Norway’s and Sweden’s 99.998% to 100% percent recoveries without lockdown or imposed mask mandates would make me even more fearful to wear a mask. Why bother? Well I have good news for you, Ms. Nolff: Medical science has shown that wearing surgical masks does not increase risk of illness. I can testify to that. I’ve worn a surgical mask for many hours many days a week for decades as have thousands of my surgical and nursing colleagues — in operating rooms throughout the world. Masks actually don’t bring about COVID-19.
Sadly, the number and incidence of new COVID-19 cases has increased in Finland as reported by the U.S. Embassy there. The CDC has stated that “travelers should avoid all travel to Finland” at this time. You may wish to recheck your sources of information, Ms. Nolff. You can check the situations in Norway and Sweden yourself online. Your anxiety levels will likely decrease quickly, and then the best reason for wearing a mask — protecting your neighbors and friends — will become a source of gratification and satisfaction for you, instead of a source of anxiety.
Barry Blum, MD
State laws and county ordinances do not protect Kona’s precious environment. The Department of Agriculture protects cash crops. There is no entity to protect the quality of our most precious resource — the natural beauty of Kona’s gentle slopes from Hualalai to the expansive shorelines.
Our natural beauty in Kona has been lost gradually in the past 75 years due to inattention to preserve what makes Kona so precious. The flip side of the environmental coin is uncoordinated enhancement of public and private infrastructures. Urban type developments encourage the prime focus of consumption of our natural resources and beauty. Our residents are sacrificing with no vision for the future. Our brilliant children are being lost because our current practices do not offer a life of resourceful opportunities.
Kona’s master vision and plan is guided by the document Kona Community Development Plan. In my opinion, there is no coherence with wise planning and management. Unfortunately, advocates determine destinies without balancing the virtues of environment preservation and enhancement.
By the way, let me give an example where talk does not meet the walk. Highway 180 has a highway sign at both junctions that says scenic byway through the “Heritage Corridor.” Throughout this 9-mile stretch, I can count only three or four spots that are free of noxious jungle growth.
If Kona continues to be exploited by external forces, then it will eventually become an outpost for a place to be exploited recklessly. Kona’s destiny should be protected by regaining “Paradise Lost.”
I hope the recently appointed directors of the Planning Department, Department of Public Works, and the Department of Environmental Management will exert their professional expertise to help restore the precious natural resources and beauty of West Hawaii. Their combined capabilities could help Kona regain paradise lost.
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