Letter: Who’s Crazy Now?

Letter to the Editor

Sadly we read last week of a woman hiking on Point Dume who was assaulted when she asked another hiker to put on a mask. There is no excuse for such behavior, but the larger point is the insanity having overtaken so many people in our state. 

Authorities arrest a paddle boarder for violating COVID-19 shut down “orders” while eating with friends at expensive restaurants. Science becomes the watchword, but Senator Harris casts aspersions on the vaccine then under development by the Trump administration for obvious political gain, so now we reap the consequences with many people afraid to be vaccinated.

But back to Point Dume. Why would you ask someone to put on a mask when you are outdoors hiking? Try to find any science that shows hikers outdoors are at risk of spreading the virus. You can’t. There isn’t any. Just dire threats from government officials who don’t follow their own orders. 

In fact, way back in the distant past of 2018, there was an epidemiologist who wrote on viral transmission both indoors and out.  The conclusion was clear. Casually passing by someone—even if that person sneezed in your direction—would not result in enough of a viral load for one to become infected. The reason is the number of molecules combined with exposure time. In this case, you are near the person for only a few seconds. Even all those protesters out in the streets last summer did not result in a marked increase in infections, though many were yelling and standing in close proximity.  

This is not the same as sitting next to someone at a sporting event. In that case, you are only a couple of feet away, but importantly, in that position for an extended period of time.

The scientist contrasted outdoors to how viral transmission at a restaurant if the HVAC unit was blowing air over an infected person toward other diners 10 feet away, resulting in infection. Perhaps had our governor focused on the HVAC systems of small California businesses, we might not have needed the complete shut downs which ruined so many small businesses.

Scott Dittrich