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Opinion The battle to defeat covid-19

As medical workers applaud, Lauro Riff Viegas, 69, gestures while he leaves a hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, after being treated for covid-19 and discharged Monday.
As medical workers applaud, Lauro Riff Viegas, 69, gestures while he leaves a hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, after being treated for covid-19 and discharged Monday. (Diego Vara/Reuters)
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Regarding the April 23 Metro section Retropolis article, “Quinine was once a ‘fever cure.’ Now Trump is pushing a similar drug”:

The battle to defeat two enemies from eastern Asia was ongoing 75 years ago in the last great world war. It was not just an issue for the early Pacific battles, where my father fought under Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger from 1942 to 1944, but the continuous battle against malaria (and other tropical diseases) continued in the final island battles to flatten the curve of war for invasion of the Japanese mainland. The cost: 26,000 human lives on Iwo Jima and a quarter of a million on Okinawa from February to June 1945. 

Malaria took many lives of the surviving Okinawan population in the following year. The more than 200,000 deaths worldwide in our just-as-dire 2020 battle against the novel coronavirus provide an eerie parallel to those events. 

Dad spent January to July 1945 at the “Walter Reed of the South” in Moore General Hospital near Asheville, N.C., recovering from malaria. 

Our nation will take time to heal. Real work takes real time.

John Paulson, Manassas

President Trump’s push to cut the payroll tax is very much like his suggestion that maybe we should consider using disinfectant in our bodies to combat the novel coronavirus. Both are toxic to the health of important things: Social Security and ourselves. 

Anyone with common sense would know not to take poison. But Mr. Trump’s continued insistence on a payroll tax cut is a Trojan horse. Many Americans aren’t consciously aware that the payroll tax is the primary funding source for Social Security and Medicare Part A, which is why Mr. Trump never mentions the real-life consequences of such a bad idea.

 The president has promised he wouldn’t touch Social Security or Medicare, but cutting the payroll tax is far worse than merely touching. This is a deliberate, sneaky method of damaging Social Security.

Bradford Wright, Dale City, Va.

The writer is a media relations associate at the National Committee to Preserve
Security and Medicare.

Everyone knows, as Bill Gates rightly pointed out in his April 24 Friday Opinion essay, “Here are the innovations we need to reopen the economy,” that a vaccine for the novel coronavirus is the longer-term solution.

Out of the almost $3 trillion allocated thus far, what is the amount that we are spending on the only thing that will allow us to get back to normal — develop a vaccine? Why is that amount not discussed more often? And why are we not discussing how we will ramp up vaccine production to reach billions of people across the globe? 

As long as people are not vaccinated, we risk the possibility of continuing infections. No one on the planet has the capacity to do this kind of vaccine ramp-up, and no one is discussing how this will occur.

Mukul Chopra, Alexandria

Bill Gates’s April 24 Friday Opinion essay, “Here are the innovations we need to reopen the economy,” presented four solutions that are logical, practical and most likely to succeed.

Why isn’t he on the coronavirus task force? He is a genius whom everyone trusts, has undisputed technology credibility and understands business and economics. Plus, in 2015, he predicted just such a pandemic. 

We should be tapping the brains of such geniuses here in the United States and around the world. The “stable genius” in the White House needs them now more than ever.

Debra Bass, Arlington

The April 24 Economy & Business article, “SBA suggests big firms give back loans” detailed problems with the Cares Act. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) portion of the act does not make clear whether the guidance for processing the loans is actual provisions of the PPP or merely written or verbal uncoordinated rules issued by the Treasury Department.

The PPP, although very important, was flagrantly flawed and deficient for the following reasons:

The Small Business Administration’s statutory mission is to assist small businesses that meet specific size standards established by the SBA in terms of employees in manufacturing or services (retail and other industries) and affiliation requirements. The size standards are established based on rules issued in public notices for comment.

The SBA’s role in processing loans for all businesses in the country with 500 employees or fewer and not in manufacturing or product related industries is clearly outside of scope of the SBA’s statutory authority and responsibilities. The PPP’s legislated “structural inefficiency” is further problematic because the SBA is tremendously underfunded and lacks sufficient staff to comply with the act. 

More details on the SBA’s responsibility in the PPP to enforce the various certification penalties and statutory requirements for auditing would be very beneficial.

Dan GillBurke

Regarding the April 26 Outlook essay “The lives ended by covid-19”:

Emily Wallace had every right to a do-not-resuscitate order. My own advance directives specify when I do not want lifesaving treatment. However, I was appalled to read of a triage directive order that stipulated that the intellectually disabled would not be given lifesaving treatment.

The likelihood of medical benefit, not intellectual ability, should be the primary criterion for those who cannot participate in the decision and have no advance directive.

Ann Neale, Columbia

The writer is a medical ethicist.

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