Dear Editor:

While it appears there are people who disagree with each other, the vast majority of individuals in the community ALL want to protect and preserve the health and economic prosperity of our community. We ALL want to accomplish this in a manner that gets us through the current situation as quickly, with the least disruption, inconvenience, and infringement on personal liberty, as possible. Our disagreement is not about the goals, yet rather the best way to achieve them. 

I applaud Mr. Cope’s interest (Letter to the Editor Aug. 12) in this topic and sincere efforts to advocate for the welfare of our community. I believe he does a good job of describing legitimate scientific uncertainty about the effectiveness of cloth masks but misses the entire point of the scientific debate. The debate is between public health experts who advocate for widespread mandatory mask mandates as a last-ditch effort and those who believe nothing short of an immediate rigid national lockdown can avert disaster. 

Mr. Cope referenced the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRP) and indicated they had been “harassed and intimidated” into editing criticisms of mask use by the general public. Let me share what Mr. Cope’s preferred authority on this issue really thinks.

CIDRP Director Dr. Osterholm, an internationally respected authority on communicable disease control, wrote in the August 7 issue of the New York Times: “We support the wearing of masks by all Americans, but masking mandates and soft limitations on indoor crowds in places such as bars and restaurants are not enough to control this pandemic. To successfully drive down our case rate to less than one per 100,000 per day, we should mandate sheltering in place for everyone but the truly essential workers.” He went on in the starkest terms. “To be effective, the lockdown has to be as comprehensive and strict as possible. If we aren’t willing to take this action, millions more cases with many more deaths are likely before a vaccine might be available. In addition, the economic recovery will be much slower, with far more business failures and high unemployment for the next year or two.”

If Mr. Cope wants to endorse CIDRP recommendations for an immediate mandatory rigid lock down of the country, I could not challenge the science behind that recommendation. Personally, I hope we can avoid this fate with mandatory mask use and pulling together as a community.

Most responsible adults understand “Hope is not a plan” and “wishing will not make it true.”   Our leaders have a clear choice. We can make our best efforts to control this public health emergency by rigorous enforcement of universal mandatory masking or we can take Dr. Osterholm’s recommendations to implement a much more restrictive and intrusive lock down.  This is very much a “deer in the headlights” situation. Bolt to one side or the other but for goodness sakes let’s not just stand here waiting for the truck to hit us.

Philip Fracica, MD, FACP

Chief Medical Officer

Bothwell Regional Health Center

(8) comments


I'm not going to waste news print on a response, but Dr. Fracica made my point for me. 1. The original study was done in April and was not amended until August 7, after tremendous pressure which was admitted to by CIDRP. 2. Dr. Osterholm was not an author of the study, but obviously decided he would like to keep his position. 3. Dr. Fracica misses the point of the original study, which states serious concern of the public's reliance on masks and the potential for other precautions to be ignored. The study does not discuss recommending lock downs as Dr. Fracica insinuates. Dr. Osterholm's comments were not part of the study, but were included in a self preservation opinion article months later. 4. It is my understanding that a recent letter from the CDC to State Health Departments recommends that infection tracing should no longer include questions regarding the wearing of face covering as the collected data did not correlate with an increased or decreased rate of infection. Wearing or not wearing a mask seems to have little effect. A recent news release by CDC states that masks may afford little or no protection from becoming infected. Finally, my point in referencing CIDRPs study is that the present reliance on face covering is not the panacea that the medical community seems to support. If Dr. Fracica wants to improve the situation, I would suggest he take part of the 28 million dollars the hospital received and buy thousands of the more effective N95 masks for the general community.

Wear a mask, dummy.

Hey everybody, listen to this guy instead of a doctor. No, seriously.

The Trump administration made to call to revise CDC guidelines (while Dr Fauci was in surgery) to lower the numbers, thinking that may somehow help him. And it looks like it will because people like you swallowed it right up. Please continue showing off your ignorance on here. It's really entertaining


Moron, Fauci doesn't work for CDC, he works for NIH. See is if you can figure what NIH stands for. That will be your homework assignment for this year.

Wear a mask, dummy.

Thank you captain big brain. I'm sure those agencies never consult each other or work together. You got me. They probably get their info from Facebook and Breibart. That's what smart people do. 180,000 dead and you babies are still throwing a fit about wearing a mask. Now go turn Fox on so your daddy in chief can tell you how to feel some more. I'm done arguing with the willfully ignorant.


200,000 dead from pneumonia Feb-Aug 15, and we already have vaccines for it. You need to get some perspective. You seem to think Fauci's in charge. Wrong, idiot. Try to develop some friendships and leave me alone. I know it's lonely in the basement but I'm sure your mother loves you. Maybe.

Wear a mask, dummy.

God you're cool. I hope they save a ventilator for you.

Wear a mask, dummy.

Good ol GOP projection. Tell your mother I said hello.


Anyone lonely enough to post at 12:35a.m in the morning, my heart goes out to you.

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