Last re­spon­ders face many dangers in pan­demic

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - OPINIONS -

MAR­CIA TETTERTON. EX­EC­U­TIVE DI­REC­TOR, VIR­GINIA AS­SO­CI­A­TION FOR HOME CARE AND HOSPICE.

HEN­RICO.

EDI­TOR, TIMES-DIS­PATCH:

Dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­demic, there has been much fo­cus on our front-line re­spon­ders, in­clud­ing emer­gency med­i­cal re­spon­ders, po­lice and fire­fight­ers, health care work­ers, bus driv­ers, gro­cery store em­ploy­ees and the like. They are re­ceiv­ing hard-earned recog­ni­tion for the jobs they must per­form for the pub­lic while ex­pos­ing them­selves to pos­si­ble COVID-19 in­fec­tion. Also fac­ing daily ex­po­sure dur­ing the pan­demic are the peo­ple who work in the funeral ser­vice in­dus­try and those at the Vir­ginia Med­i­cal Ex­am­iner’s Of­fice, who in­ter­act, ma­nip­u­late and open bod­ies in­fected with the coro­n­avirus as part of their day-to-day jobs. These folks are putting their lives on the line in or­der to re­spect­fully process and make fi­nal dis­po­si­tion of the con­tam­i­nated re­mains of COVID-19 dece­dents.

Med­i­cal ex­am­iner em­ploy­ees and funeral ser­vice work­ers go to work ev­ery day know­ing that they will in­ter­act with de­ceased pa­tients who still are in­fec­tious. There have been re­ports of a med­i­cal ex­am­iner who con­tracted the coro­n­avirus from a de­ceased COVID-19 pa­tient.

It is time these work­ers re­ceive recog­ni­tion for their dan­ger­ous work. I ap­plaud them for their ded­i­ca­tion, com­pas­sion and fear­less at­ten­tion to their hard and of­ten un­ap­pre­ci­ated jobs. God bless our front-line work­ers and our last re­spon­ders. They all de­serve recog­ni­tion.

LEAH BUSH,

FOR­MER CHIEF MED­I­CAL EX­AM­INER OF THE COM­MON­WEALTH OF VIR­GINIA.

NEW KENT. to the Cor­re­spon­dent of the Day let­ter from Thomas Cox. Petersen cites the very low in­ci­dences of hos­pi­tal­iza­tions of young­sters as an ar­gu­ment for open­ing schools in the fall, re­gard­less of the pan­demic sit­u­a­tion. Cox, on the other hand, re­minds us of the “shared sac­ri­fices of a global com­mu­nity.” Cox writes, “It is hard not to com­pare it to the coro­n­avirus pan­demic war, and the view of so many that in­di­vid­u­als rights and free­dom are more im­por­tant than shared sac­ri­fice in a time of need.” I don’t think the sen­a­tor knows it is not the ex­tremely low rate of ill­ness in youths that is rel­e­vant. It is their high propen­sity to spread the dis­ease to the gen­eral pub­lic that calls for the sac­ri­fice. use of time if our leg­is­la­tors found ways to amend the state con­sti­tu­tion to take present-day realities in mind, be­fore they issue a man­date that could en­dan­ger the lives of our stu­dents, our ed­u­ca­tion pro­fes­sion­als and staff, and their fam­i­lies.

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