Voices From The Readers – May 15, 2020

Voices From The Readers – May 15, 2020

Unemployment Chaos


I’m writing to you in desperation as I sit on hold with Maryland Unemployment to implore anyone’s help. It has been six hours and 15 minutes thus far since I was placed on hold at 7:12 a.m. this morning when I was informed that I was 40th in line. It’s now been over six hours and they still haven’t cleared 40 phone calls. No wonder no one can ever speak with a person.

If DLLR cannot process thousands of calls a day, there will never be any resolution for Marylanders. I guess I should consider myself fortunate to have gotten in a hold queue. Yesterday, I spent over six hours placing literally thousands of calls attempting to reach a real human being. Almost every one of those calls was met with the perpetually busy signal, with the rare occasion when an automated male voice would come on to provoke the Pavlovian response of hope, only to further aggravate with the incessant promotion of the “ease” of use of the online Beacon system. Obviously if I could resolve my need online with the “easy” Beacon system, I would, and I would not be spending days trying to reach a person. Then the final coup de grace, the most sadistic action in this outrageously frustrating and cruel scenario is the female voice that takes the line to inform that all agents are busy (as if I hadn’t already figured that out) and to “try your call again later”, and then you are hung up on.

This warped, frustrating, soul crushing and time-wasting system is the salt in all of our wounds right now. My unemployment claim had been settled and functioning (filed March 16) and now, without warning, explanation, or recourse, it’s clearly been ended. No explanation, no justification, no notification, and there is no one I can confer with to resolve whatever the issue may be. And the ultimate slap in the face is Limelight Larry Hogan every day on TV singing the praises of the new Beacon system like Pollyanna, and how “we are all in this together.” We aren’t all in this together. We are completely on our own, and we are being restricted by “law” from making a living, and providing for ourselves, while simultaneously government dangles the carrot in our faces of unemployment benefits without delivering them, and without providing any recourse. Sadists.

I really cannot think of any other recourse here, nor anyone else who can help.

I am (was) a waitress in a high-volume restaurant/bar. When I filed my unemployment claim on March 16, I (stupidly) listed my return to work date as May 1, as that is what my employer expected and advised. We now have no known return to work date, and I need Maryland Unemployment to recognize this, and restart my benefits. If we could simply take a number, like at the MVA, and wait for Maryland Unemployment to call us back, even if it is weeks later, we could ultimately speak with an actual agent. I’ve written our local delegates, I really do not know what else to do.

Helen Theresa Ferguson



Food Program Critical


The coronavirus has caused both a health crisis and an economic one, pushing families into poverty and hunger across Maryland.

Our schools and nonprofits have been working hard to make sure children are fed and nearly eight million meals have been served since the start of the pandemic. One tool that has helped are waivers that allow families to pick up pre-packaged meals to take home. These waivers help slow the spread by reducing contact with the workers and volunteers distributing meals. I urge USDA to help us feed kids safely this summer by extending the child nutrition waivers through September.

I also urge Senators Van Hollen and Cardin to extend the new P-EBT benefits that will soon be issued to more than 400,000 low-income students across Maryland. About $114 per month in P-EBT will help families purchase food while schools are closed and all students that qualify for free or reduced-price school meals are eligible for this critically important new resource. P-EBT benefits are currently approved for March thru June and need to be extended through September.

To participate in the new P-EBT program, families should make sure they are signed-up for free or reduced-price school meals or SNAP. The SNAP program provides benefits for food on a debit-style card and the best way to apply is to go online to “My DHR.”

The road to recovery requires that families in Maryland have the food they need for kids to thrive.

Tam Lynne Kelley


(The writer is the director of the No Kid Hungry Maryland organization.)


The Silent Killer


After reading an article published by Dr. Richard Levitan at Bellevue hospital in New York City, about his disturbing treatment experience, over a 10-day period, fighting COVID-19, I thought I should write this letter. But before we talk about Levitan’s experience and his advice see what a couple of other infectious disease specialists are saying that you may not have heard.

Sweden’s Chief Epidemiologist, Dr. Anders Tegnell says he is pushing for “herd immunity.” When 60% to 80% of the population is immune to the virus it will not have sufficient hosts and will disappear. To accomplish this Sweden has imposed no shutdowns. Dr. Tengnell takes the percent of positives tested and extrapolates to the whole Swedish population instead of only talking about those tested. Dr. Tegnell estimates 20% or 2 million out of 10 million Swedes have caught and recovered from COVID-19 and last week Sweden had only 1,900. Deaths. That is less than .01%. What is Sweden doing? There schools are open their businesses are open as usual. There death rate is arguably better than ours and they are not facing the secondary affects of a closed economy, increased suicide, wife and child beatings, and increased drug and alcohol abuse.

Jason Farley, a professor of infectious disease and a trained epidemiologist at John Hopkins, like Dr. Tegnell, extrapolates the percent infected from those tested to the whole US population.  He says that probably 16,500,000 Americans have caught the Wuhan Flu and recovered. So as a percentage that reduces our death rate to .3% (one third of one percent). Comparable to the flu and considerably less than the daily number on the Fauci/Birx televised daily, fear show.

Deaths associated to the Wuhan virus are most likely overstated because doctors have been instructed by Fauci to doctor up their death certificates, and if they were infected by COVID-19 to put it as the cause of death even if it wasn’t. Fauci has also been silent regarding the bat scientist, Shi Zhengli, in the Wuhan infectious disease lab he helped to set up.

I suggest you should go to the CDC website and check it out. In 2018 our worse flu year in 40 years 80 million died from the flu, 188 were children. This flu season we have lost 166 children, only three children died from the Wuhan Flu. Yes, the kids should be in school.

The takeaway from Dr. Tegnell and Professor Farley is that if you are healthy Wuhan virus is most likely no worse than the flu and that uncounted millions have had it, and recovered. The fact remains, since 1965 we are not as healthy as we used to be, even though we live longer, conditions such as heart, lung, diabetes, obesity and cancer have dramatically increased, and are compounded in an older population. It is estimated that 65% of those over 60 have a compromised immune system and in those cases COVID-19 could be deadly.

As a person with mild COPD I know the feeling well when your breathing is labored. COPD does reduce oxygen/CO2 exchange making it harder to breath. But the Wuhan virus is trickier. Pneumonia caused by Wuhan allows Oxygen/CO2 exchange to occur, so you think you’re breathing but you aren’t. The lung vestibules are being blocked by the COVID-19 pneumonia and restrict oxygen from entering the bloodstream. For the old and immune deficient it is worse.

Dr. Levitan says by the time patients come to the hospital their oxygen level is so low it requires an immediate oxygen mask or a ventilator. . . He says by the time they get to the crowded hall ways at Bellevue waiting to register, they are in bad shape but still playing with their cell phones, unaware that their oxygen levels are so low. Many immediately need an oxygen mask or ventilator. Sadly, within a day or two many of them are dead. They were too late to arrest the pneumonia.

COVID-19 doesn’t reduce your Oxygen CO2 interchange enough to be noticeable however as it worsens it is increasingly reducing oxygen to your body. Yet patients are sitting in the hallways playing on their cell phones waiting for admission and don’t realize they are so far along with the disease they don’t respond well to treatment. Early intervention is very important for at risk infected. Drugs like the malaria medication are ineffective unless you catch the disease early

Dr. Levitan notes that two doctor friends of his used a pulse oximeter to get an early warning that their oxygen levels were dropping, tested positive, then took the malaria drug and quickly recovered. What is a pulse oximeter? That little thing the doctor puts on your finger to measure your oxygen level is a pulse oximeter.

The pulse oximeter should read 95 or higher. Also my daughter who has 50 COVID-19 patients in Laudon Va. says to use the oximeter while walking around. With infected people it drops off if you walk while your checking. If it drops to the 80’s call the doctor, particularly if you are obese, diabetic or old. COVID-19 tricks you, you think your breathing but you’re not getting enough oxygen. By the time you get to the hospital, it may be too late, particularly for the immune compromised, you’re like the walking dead.

I went to Amazon and bought a pulse oximeter. Pulse oximeters on Amazon are priced from $18-up. Remember this infection it tricks you. You think your breathing but arn’t. So, buy a pulse oximeter and tell the governor to put the kids back in school. Don’t pay much attention to the daily, nationally televised Fauci/Birx fear show.

Tony Christ

Falls Church, Va.