I am writing in response to John-Michael Dumais’ letter regarding COVID-19 in a hypothetical town of 10,000 people, which, although it does quote a number of facts, does so misleadingly.

One important reason that COVID-19 death statistics have been as favorable as they have been is that many people have been taking precautions such as social distancing and mask-wearing.

Let’s look at the death figures from two states where most residents still don’t want to be bothered by public health guidelines — North Dakota and South Dakota. In both of those states, the death rate per 100,000 residents has consistently been about two deaths a day, or 730 deaths a year. Translating that into Mr. Dumais’ hypothetical town of 10,000 people, that means 73 additional deaths, not the nine additional deaths that he cites.

Furthermore, if hospital beds and health care workers are completely inundated with people ill with COVID (as is already happening in places), there are going to be more deaths from other illnesses as well.

I am tired of people citing “faulty PCR test-inflated case counts.” All one has to do is look at the markedly increasing death rate from COVID-19 in the U.S. to realize that our higher case numbers are not simply a matter of “over testing” or “overly sensitive tests.” When was the last time makeshift morgues had to be gotten ready for excessive deaths in this country? Not in my memory.

We are all tired of this pandemic. However, it is not going to go away unless most of us get the disease (which means millions of deaths) or the vast majority of us get vaccinated. Having reviewed the vaccine trial figures, I find them convincing and reassuring. It’s an amazing testament to science (not the pseudoscience that so many people disseminate) that safe, effective vaccines could be developed this quickly.

In the meanwhile, people need to take precautions to keep from getting and spreading the virus. Seriously, is it really that difficult to wear masks in public until we get the epidemic in control, and should those who are most adamant about wanting life to get back to normal as soon as possible be the ones arguing against the vaccines that will make it possible for it to happen?

JOHN N. WALTER JR., M.D.

38 Felt Road

Keene