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Opinion: Colorado pediatricians beg students and teachers to wear masks

Opinion: Colorado pediatricians beg students and teachers to
wear masks 1

Pediatricians weigh in on vaccines, masks for children

Re: “No one approach to face coverings,” Aug. 8 news story

COVID-19 vaccines save kids’ lives. As a pediatrician in Denver, I saw a 15-year-old hospitalized after a heart attack, a 16-year-old with life-threatening pneumonia, and a 1-month-old hospitalized for several days — all of whom were in perfect health before they got COVID.

Kids are not safe from COVID. They have symptoms. They transmit the virus to other people. They can have life-threatening conditions resulting from COVID. The Pfizer vaccine has been well studied, approved by the FDA, and is very safe for children.

This vaccine has been given to millions of children in the U.S. and is very effective. The Pfizer vaccine is widely available and free for all children regardless of insurance coverage. There is no proof that this vaccine has long-term side effects or causes kids to have fertility

This vaccine will certainly not give your child COVID. Vaccinating your child protects them, their friends, and the adults they interact with. Vaccination is the best tool to getting kids back to normal life. Do not wait; get your children who are 12 and older vaccinated today.

Yeshai Dollin, Denver

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A recent article in The Post quotes a local mother who opposes mandatory masks, citing the importance of social interaction without hindrance. I argue masks are actually the best way to continue the vitally important social interactions that occur in the school setting while ensuring the health and safety of all students and teachers.

Without masks, the delta variant could cause frequent absences from school and possibly the necessary pivot to distance learning, thus eliminating any opportunity for the interactions everyone craves after a virtual 2020 school year. Therefore, masks are, in fact, not a hindrance but a helpful tool in the slow progression towards normalcy.

I am a local pediatrician who sees firsthand the impact of COVID-19 on children’s lives each day. I see families grapple with managing masking for their children who are not yet eligible for vaccination. I see them struggling between the desire for in-person learning and the concern for their child’s safety. And I, too, worry about safety, given the very real risk of severe disease in kids.

I commend Denver Public Schools for implementing a mandatory mask rule for children who are too young to get the vaccine. Eliminating the gray area of individualized decisions creates clarity, alleviates stressors for families, and promotes a safe environment. We encourage other local school districts and counties to pursue a similar plan and for families to call them out, pursuing the importance of continuing socialization and in-person education while keeping our kids safe.

Erin Guth, Denver

Creating a safe school environment in the era of COVID-19 is paramount. Children under age 12 are not yet eligible for vaccinations, and only some children ages 12+ are fully vaccinated. Unvaccinated kids are both vulnerable to the disease themselves and capable of spreading it to others, especially the contagious delta variant.

As a pediatrician working in the Denver area, I have seen over and over again the burden of virtual school — the technology was challenging, kids who had always done well struggled, high-quality supervision was impossible. Social connections were absent, worsening mental health problems for kids of every background. The message from last year is clear: Kids need to attend school in person.

However, we need to make sure kids and teachers are safe. Masks help keep kids in school by preventing the spread of disease. A uniform mask policy also helps to protect children from isolation and bullying from other kids for their choice either to wear or not to wear a mask. I applaud Denver and Jefferson County for mandating masks in schools, and I urge other Colorado school districts to do the same.

Margaret Van Der Bosch, Denver

Make masks and vaccines the current war effort

Our family is blessed to have a member who is of the “greatest generation” — that generation that experienced the Great Depression and World War II. She told me of the sacrifices citizens made for the protection of all during the war by complying with supply rations and, on the East Coast, not turning the lights on at night to reduce the chances of enemy attack. We relied on advice from military leaders.

Nobody was running around yelling, “my freedom is gone; I refuse to do it!”

We now have another challenging time. Simple logic would lead us to seek the advice of epidemiologists and not narcissistic politicians on the topic of disease transmission.

The evidence is that by getting vaccinated and simply wearing a mask for the well-being of all, we can stomp out the enemy attack of this generation.

As it was in World War II, as it is now, united we stand, divided we fall.

Dean Anderson, Evergreen

Re: “Gov. Jared Polis should require masks in schools,” Aug. 10 commentary

Thank you for publishing the outstanding column by Kyle Mullica, who clearly and cogently makes a case for a statewide policy requiring masks for all staff and students in Colorado schools. The science is increasingly clear that everyone, including those of us who are fully vaccinated, can be carriers of the highly contagious Delta variant and that masks provide the best protection for the unvaccinated — which includes all children under age 12 and a large percentage of students over 12. Places where masks are not required are already seeing a substantial increase in COVID-19 among children, which will disrupt the schools and can have serious long-term consequences. Gov. Polis, please exercise strong leadership by taking action now to protect our children and prevent an exponential outbreak of the virus in Colorado’s schools and communities!

Karen and Frank Timmons, Westminster

While I feel the CDC has been quite clear in their communications, many are not clear on the information.

The COVID vaccines have varying percentages of effectiveness and the numbers often stated are their effectiveness at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and/or death. They do not have the same effectiveness percentages against being infected with COVID.

What is quite clear from current data is that vaccinated persons can be — and have been — infected with COVID, especially with the delta variant.

Masking up is still a great idea to help slow the spread of this disease. When the science and data change, the recommendations change. You aren’t being lied to. Things change and evolve.

Tom Maynor, Highland Ranch

So those opposing mandatory masks and vaccinations in school argue that COVID doesn’t affect kids? Well, it does now. How about 96,000 confirmed COVID infections for those 0-17 reported the week ending Aug. 5?

I’m no medical expert, but I kinda suspect the trauma experienced by children put into a COVID infection ward where they are separated from most of their family and cared for by strangers wearing alien spacesuits might, just might, be a tad more traumatic than getting the opportunity to wear a superhero or My Little Pony mask with their classmates in school.

Robert C. Marshall, Highlands Ranch


Re: “No one approach to face coverings,” Aug. 8 news story

There is only one question to ask those hesitant to have a vaccine or approve it for their children: If this COVID virus caused pustules to develop on the outside and cause scars on your or your children’s face and bodies, how long would it take you to get that shot? Well, those scars may be on the inside. We can’t see them, but they are there. Masks are part of that prevention, despite a 5-year-old yelling into a megaphone “my body, my choice” on the Sunday front page. I cannot stand the thought of her getting COVID.

Carol E. Morse, Golden

DIA’s Final Approach restrooms are open to public

Re: “DIA waiting area needs to provide for nature breaks,” August 1 letter to the editor

In response to the recent letter, we want to be sure our customers and visitors know that restrooms and facilities are indeed open to the public and not just paying customers. Final Approach was intended to provide those waiting for family and friends access to restrooms, food and even flight information.

We have reminded our business partners inside Final Approach
that the building and facilities must be available to the public and the signs will be removed immediately.

Thank you to the person who brought this to our attention. We hope they feel more welcome the next time they visit our facilities.

Alex Renteria, Denver

Editor’s note: Renteria is a public information officer serving Denver International Airport.

Gasping for air and answers

I was born in Erie, Kansas, in 1933, and my childhood was spent in what is now known as the Dust Bowl. The dust blew in from the west, some of it from Eastern Colorado.

I grew up with all kinds of problems with my lungs. For some time I have been ripening during retirement in Denver, a place I hereby dub the Haze Bowl. The smoke, like the dust, comes from the West.

The Dust Bowl had to be endured during the harsh conditions of the Great Depression, but now I am living healthfully during the Great Pandemic. Thank goodness for my two vaccinations.

Phillip K. Tompkins, Denver

Dear President Biden,

Please utilize our resources to combat and prevent forest fire damage. Here we are in Denver, a thousand miles away from California fires, and we are encouraged not to go outside because of the resulting harmful smoke.

My question is, what can the federal government do to help put these fires out? Can we use the national guard and military to assist in extinguishing these fires that are choking us?

After the past couple of years of drought and heat and the likelihood of more seasons of disastrous weather to come, now is the time to come up with a federal strategy to contain these fires and still the source of

Mike Gallagher, Centennial

As I write this, outside my window at my apartment complex in Louisville, workers are lying down new asphalt. In the midst of our air quality crisis, they are doing this foul work — work that is nowhere close to an emergency and work that easily could be postponed. All around the area road crews are at work.

What is wrong with this picture?
We are in serious shape here and I would suspect most of this work is not an emergency. How can things improve when construction and road work continue. We need to stop this march of folly. When are we going to learn?

Walter Bonora, Louisville

Re: We need a federal carbon fee with cash back for each American,” August 8 commentary

Now we have a great idea for cutting emissions, much needed as wildfires rage and Denver chokes on smoke — a carbon tax that increases each year gets everyone moving.

Individuals buy cars and appliances that run on electricity instead of oil and gas. Grocery stores stock locally grown foods instead of strawberries from Mexico. Architects design buildings to conserve energy. Investors favor companies with plans to reduce their carbon emissions. We will all use less of what costs more while spending our dividend checks. This plan is a winner.

Phil Nelson, Golden

Diner grateful for vaccine requirement

Re: “More Denver restaurants to require vaccinations,” Aug. 11 news story

I wanted to thank Denver restaurateur Frank Bonanno for the courage and leadership he has shown to help make us more safe and able to eat at his restaurants by asking/requiring all of his employees and customers be vaccinated.

It is a simple step that is much needed right now (given the super catchy delta variant) but will certainly be attacked by boogeymen, freedom fighters, etc.

I look forward to bringing my family in to eat at one his spots soon and encourage other vaxxed folks to do the same and show support. Thanks, Frank.

Matthew Dodd Cheroutes, Denver

Frustrated by Denver officers’ settlement

Re: “Fired officers receive $1.1M,” Aug. 12 news story

I am often angered by the news, but this morning I was absolutely disgusted. Officers Devin Sparks and Randy Murr walk away with a huge financial settlement — 61 times what the victim of their beating received.

This is supposed to be justice?

I suggest they give their settlement to their victim, Michael DeHerrera. Do either of them have a conscience?

Kathy Derrick, Denver

A path for the mudslides as more are sure to come

A quick glance at the source of the disastrous mudslide in Glenwood Canyon shows that mud and rock will continue to pour down at every heavy rain. If the concrete and asphalt roadway could not hold it back, oversized sandbags certainly won’t.

Many of the boulders which came down were bigger by far than the sandbags.

Instead of trying to dam future slides, we should bridge the gulley so slides can pass freely under the road without taking out bridge supports– no center columns, and with generous width and height to accommodate the largest predicted mudslides.

The river, and possibly the railroad, would still have to be cleaned up, but the road would be intact.

Anika Livo, Lakewood

The solution to the East/West corridor transportation route is not just better roads or routes because destructive fires and floods are our future due to climate change denial and poor Western Slope leadership over decades.

It is futile to think we can fool Mother Nature anymore. Our future could be fast electric trains. It could be an electric grid that is designed with distributive energy sources to easily share power with the predictable regional outages in our future.

We can not build back better until we face our role in the root cause of economic chaos due to destructive weather events. We have wasted valuable time.

Tanya Travis, Grand Junction

Cell tower brings darkness

Re: “New “small” cell tower looms large in front yard,” Aug. 10 letter to the editor

I completely agree with the letter concerning the Xcel cell tower. They took out the street light across from my house and put their tower in without any notice to the neighborhood. Now that the area is pitch black at night, we have seen an increase in auto break-ins and motorscooter thefts. I have written to our city council representative, and he said it is Xcel’s responsibility to put a light on their tower. That was over six months ago, and to date, nothing from them — except their monthly bill.

Dennis Devore, Denver

Stuck on the back burner

As an environmental engineer, I have watched the U.S. languish for decades in our inability to control ozone air pollution fully. We are making analogous mistakes with climate change. We keep resetting the time bar, first with the Montreal Protocol 34 years ago and now with the Paris Climate Accord. These agreements are like New Year’s resolutions: meaningful when set as inner expectations, yet most people abandon them very fast when an outer expectation arises.

Hopefully, President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan will start to lay the needed groundwork for transforming our energy economy. However, from my perspective, it’s just plain common sense that a price on carbon is needed as a complementary approach. Carbon pricing will take us beyond “resolutions.” It will drive meaningful progress through technical innovations that will not pick winners and losers and can maintain, if not, stimulate our economy.

Ron Dickson, Fort Collins

It’s a climate crisis at this point not just climate change

Re: “An air of uncertainty,” Aug. 10 news story

To Bruce Finely, thank you so much for writing this Denver Post article. I am passionate about making efforts to help fight climate change. I have asthma and this summer has been very difficult, and I unfortunately have needed to limit my time outside.

I strongly agree that we need to make significant changes fast or we will continue to see harsh living environments. I am concerned for our future and future generations.

The world is changing right before our eyes and I hope that these severe weather patterns show everyone the urgency we need to conquer the climate crisis. Thank you again for speaking out on the climate crisis, we cannot afford another year of silence. Please continue to write about the climate crisis. We need to make everyone aware.

Paige Hoholik, Denver

Getting scared about our climate? It’s not climate change it’s a climate crisis.

We need large scale change. Composting, electric cars, recycling are not enough. We need to address policy for the climate crisis now. It is the only way left.

Call your senators and representatives and tell them you want policies that will address our climate crisis.

Carbon tax and dividend is a policy that economist support and in tandem with infrastructure will go along way to getting our climate stable.

Susan Riederer, Denver

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