Opinion | The Next Moves in Fighting the Virus

Readers discuss President Biden’s new mask requirements, logistics in getting the shot, mask-wearing as a “sacred duty,” and the prognoses for patients.

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Announces National Effort to Counter Virus” (front page, Jan. 22):

It is highly commendable that President Biden has acted swiftly to make mandatory the wearing of masks on federal property and certain forms of travel.

However, it is absolutely essential that he use whatever means become necessary to extend such a mandate to cover indoor public spaces at state and local levels, as well as indoor facilities such as stores — no exceptions or opting out. This would require the cooperation of governors and local officials, of course.

Such measures are already one year late, and the public has long been counting on a “magic bullet” in the form of a vaccine to eliminate the pandemic. Epidemiologists have always warned, though, that without continued masking, including by those already vaccinated, efforts to control the virus will not succeed.

Executing the above measures would be unimaginably difficult, but without them we are doomed to continue to endure the pandemic. It is a matter of life and death.

Burt Bloom
Brooklyn

To the Editor:

I got my first vaccination at a giant supermarket halfway across town. People could not have been nicer or more helpful, and I am deeply grateful to get the shot.

There were two women administering the vaccine. One told me that she and her co-worker could give only 75 vaccinations on any given day. Why so slow? Because they spent time filling out paperwork, scheduling the second dose and cleaning the site for the next person in line.

How hard could it be to give them helpers to oversee intake paperwork and second-dose rescheduling? A simple assembly line.

Basic logistics would enable so many more people to be vaccinated on any given day. And isn’t that the goal?

Shelley Lowenstein
Washington

To the Editor:

I hate wearing a mask when I go outside in the cold, but I bravely, proudly and gladly do it. Why? It’s a choice I make freely to show my solidarity with my fellow citizens and to show that I care.

When I walk, during the pandemic I’m exercising. I often spend 45 minutes or more on a walk. At the end, my mask is wet, clammy and disgusts me. Did I tell you I don’t like to wear a mask in this weather? But I would not be caught dead outside without one.

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