Voices From The Readers – May 8, 2020

Voices From The Readers – May 8, 2020

Pines Wrong To Seek PPP

Editor:

We sincerely extend our apologies to any small businesses who have not had your PPP application for a loan/grant approved by the Small Business Administration because of insufficient available funds. We are embarrassed by the actions of the Ocean Pines Board of Directors and their across-the-bay legal advisors in applying for and accepting $1.1million through the PPP Program.

While obviously the Association was somehow allowed to apply and receive these monies through the stimulus program, that doesn’t mean that it should have been done. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do! Many private businesses throughout our County – particularly in the northern end – have been utterly devastated by the closure of all “non-essential” businesses and have no means of receiving any revenue during this national health crisis which may last well into the summer. And even those businesses that have been allowed to remain open are having to operate with a reduced clientele and have had to think out of the box to find ways (and many have cleverly done so) to attract customers in order to stave off financial ruin.

We have been residents of Ocean Pines for over 43 years and are familiar with the yearly-budget process, and how the association receives its revenue. The source of that revenue remains the same and is unlikely to be seriously impaired. The association will continue to receive yearly assessments on its lots and revenue from its amenities (including fees for the use of its pools and golf courses, etc.) as it has done for decades. The association had already mailed out its annual assessments (we have already paid ours) before the impact of the health crisis. This is just a way to grab easy money before truly distressed private businesses could get their funding approved. In a short term, it is spelled “greed.”

If the association couldn’t weather this “storm” with a “rainy-day” fund, shame on us. Ocean Pines has always wanted to be an integral part of the county, but by actions such as this, we are not showing that we care for the community and the businesses and citizens therein.

Dale and Charlotte Cathell

Ocean Pines

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Hospital Furlough

Editor:

Atlantic General Hospital is furloughing medical professionals, namely the Women’s Health Office in West Ocean City.

It is incomprehensible to me that AGH has all but locked its doors when it comes to patient services. You are at the tip of the essential chain and cannot figure out a way to see patients but grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants figure it out? If what I have heard is reliable (and I am pretty certain it is), medical professionals have been told it could be June before they are called back. If you are already overdue for an annual visit and will be rescheduled, imagine how many times you will be “bumped” for priorities and “sick slots”, before you will actually get in.

Is Atlantic General willing to take that risk with so many patients, perhaps? I am thinking we could be another year out easily. These are offices are remote from the hospital with ample space for distancing and spacing appointments. Compliance on both sides of the appointment is a must. Sterility should already be in place. We are still in an uphill battle with this crisis and it is time for our health systems to figure out “the new normal” and get patients back into their medical routines.

Kim Holloway

Berlin

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Laser Shows Better Option

Editor:

While Berlin officials are moving the location of the annual fireworks display, now would be a great time to think about changing the format too (“Berlin Finds New Home For Annual Fireworks Display,” April 15). Multiple people were injured last year during a fireworks show near St. Louis when a shell shot into the crowd. And fireworks have proved deadly for animal companions and wildlife as well.

Dogs scared by the deafening explosions have been known to break chains, jump fences, tear through screen doors, and even leap through glass windows in an attempt to escape the noise. Terrified cats often bolt as well, and animal shelters report an increase in lost animals turning up in the days following fireworks displays.

Startled deer and other animals frequently run into roadways, and birds flee their nests, abandoning their chicks. Fireworks were blamed for the deaths of 5,000 birds in Arkansas after red-winged blackbirds and European starlings took off in panicked flight. The night-blind birds crashed into houses, signs, and other obstacles, causing blunt-force trauma and death.

Laser light shows are safer for humans, kinder to animals, and less expensive to produce, but provide just as much “ooh” and “aww” for spectators.

Michelle Kretzer

Norfolk, Va.

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Malaria More Deadly

Editor:

Approximately 720 children will die today because of a widespread, infectious disease. No, not from the novel coronavirus, although that disease certainly presides over current news headlines, but something much older and more deadly — malaria.

In 2019, there were 228 million new cases of malaria worldwide and 405,000 deaths, 70% of which were children under 5. These statistics are daunting, but unlike COVID-19, we currently have the tools to prevent and treat this disease. In fact, in the 18th and 19th century, malaria was rampant in Maryland and the greater Delmarva area, but through strong public health infrastructure, the disease was eliminated in the U.S. Why not aim to eradicate it worldwide, or at least increase funding to fight malaria in other countries? As a current graduate student studying vector-borne diseases, I am immensely passionate in preventing the transmission of malaria.

April 25 was World Malaria Day and I am pleased to share a short account of malaria in Maryland and my experience in advocating for increased global malaria funding.

It is difficult to imagine that malaria was established in every state except Alaska, but the swampy lands in the U.S. were favorable breeding grounds for the Anopheles species of mosquitoes that transmit malaria – especially the Chesapeake bay and villages next to water with a high salt content. By the 1680’s, colonists noted that places along the seashore and along the tidal rivers in Virginia were rarely free from ‘fever’ during hot weather. During the Revolutionary War, Cornwallis’s British troops were forced back to a fort which lay directly between two mosquito-infested swamps on the Chesapeake Bay. They were plagued with malarial mosquitoes. Surrounded by Washington’s troops, the malaria-crippled British troops were forced to surrender. Mosquitoes may have helped the American’s win that battle. Malaria was also an enemy during the Civil War accounting for 10,000 American deaths. Fast-forward to 1900-1904, the mortality from malaria was high – the average annual death rate was 6.5 in Baltimore and 11.1 in D.C.

Then, in 1947, the National Malaria Eradication Program commenced under the newly formed CDC, which consisted primarily of DDT house spraying, removal of mosquito breeding sites, drainage, and netting window screen use. In 1949, the U.S. was declared free of malaria. Now, about 90% of all malaria deaths in the world occur in Africa, but we all have the ability to take action! That is why I support the United Nations Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign. Through this campaign, I have met with staffers for Maryland Senators and Representatives to urge them to fully support the President’s Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria for sending more interventions like bed nets. You, yourself, can call your local Congress member’s office and ask them to strengthen funding for global ending malaria programs. We all have a stake in the outcome and parents around the world will sleep more soundly knowing their children are protected. Anyone can join the fight!

Antonio Alvarado

Bishopville

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Support Health Care

Editor:

All of us have seen the images on the news showing the brave caregivers who every day put their lives on the line for us. We have our own local heroes here at Atlantic General Hospital who are working hard to keep us healthy and safe. These are our friends and neighbors — doctors, nurses, aides, office staff, lab technicians, ambulance drivers, housekeeping staff, maintenance, food preparation staff, and so many others. We need to show them we think and care about them.

We are calling on our community to show support for our local caregivers at AGH by sending hugging hearts with messages of encouragement and support to the hospital.

You can download images of the hugging heart from the Art League’s website at www.ArtLeagueOfOceanCity.org or on the Art League’s Facebook page. The hugging heart is available as both a color image to print directly on home printers, and also as a coloring book-style page that can be printed for children and family art projects.

Finished hearts can be mailed through the post office to Atlantic General Hospital, Attention Caroline Phillips, 10320 Old Ocean City Blvd., Berlin, Md. 21811. Or digital hearts can be uploaded to COVID19donations@atlanticgeneral.org.

Thank you, neighbors, for having a heART and sending a hug to those we count on.

Rina Thaler

Ocean City

(The writer is the executive director of the Art League of Ocean City.)