The May 20 news article “Study: Most elderly on ventilators don’t survive” told us that 70 percent of those over age 70 who go on ventilators die. What this study, and other studies of medical interventions for covid-19, doesn’t tell us is how this mortality rate compares with patients who are demographically similar, with the same level of sickness, but who are not put on ventilators. What percentage of them die? This kind of control group is a basic requirement for determining the effectiveness of ventilators and hospitalization — indeed, any medical intervention at all. Are patients better off just staying at home and receiving palliative care? We won’t know until we see the data that our derelict government apparently isn’t even collecting, much less analyzing.

Robert Emmett Morris, Washington