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The News-Times' first mailbag of September includes reader responses to the pandemic and the Afghanistan pullout.

Can we now impeach President Biden?

To impeach a president, they must be guilty of high crimes or misdemeanors. Though "high crimes" is relatively obvious, we consider misdemeanors as traffic tickets or lower crimes like petty theft. In the 1828 Webster Dictionary: "Treason: In the United States, treason is confined to the actual levying of war against the United States, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them aid and comfort."

Question: Is abandoning a fully equipped airbase giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

According to news reports, we "turned over" Bagram Airbase to the Afghan military. Some follow-up reports indicate Afghanistan was not notified we were leaving. The Taliban/ISIS and looters arrived at the base before the Afghan Military and took control of the billions in advanced weapons. This was done at the order of President Joe Biden.

Mr. President, your administration is to blame for this. Not Mr. Trump. Just like at the border, had you followed the existing plan, things would not have escalated.

Are you in charge or not, President Biden?

Gregor Hinckley, Hillsboro

Former OHSU spokesperson fires back

The claim by the animal rights lobbying group White Coat Waste Project that animal studies taking place at Oregon Health & Science University are "wasteful" (letter to the editor, published Aug. 26, 2021) is blatantly false.

The current pandemic has repeatedly demonstrated the critical need for animal studies. Animal research helped scientists develop safe and effective vaccines in record time. The groundbreaking use of mRNA snippets to fight the coronavirus — an approach used in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — was developed years ago in animal studies.

Read the letter from Natalie Warhit published Aug. 26, 2021.

Animal research also demonstrated how the virus spreads, helping us prevent transmission. Studies in animals over several decades gave us the previously FDA-approved drugs that we are now using to fight the disease in infected patients. At the same time, animals are helping us develop new and better therapies.

Now is a time when we need a lot more science and a lot less political spin.

Jim Newman

Director of Strategic Communications, Americans for Medical Progress

Concerned about the 'other' respiratory virus surge

As a pediatric nurse at a children's hospital here in Oregon, I have watched with concern as other parts of the country deal with a COVID-19 surge at the same time they are grappling with an unseasonable surge in respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.

RSV is a common childhood disease that usually hits in colder months. It is easily confused with a common cold but can be very serious especially for young children. The disease is responsible for nearly 16 times more infant hospitalizations than influenza and kills up to 500 children under age 5 every year.

Around 2,000 confirmed cases were recorded across the U.S. during the week of July 10, 2021, compared to less than a dozen during the week of July 25, 2020. The actual number of infections is likely higher, since clinicians may not test sick children for RSV outside its usual season.

In areas where RSV and COVID-19 are creating a "surge upon surge," healthcare providers are expressing concern about hospital bed availability and strain on the healthcare system.

While there are vaccines for COVID-19, there is currently no vaccine for RSV. However, medical researchers are close to finalizing two products, one for children and one for expectant mothers, that will protect infants against RSV.

Vaccination is one of the best ways parents can protect children from harmful diseases.

Once they are available, the Centers for Disease Control must ensure that RSV immunizations are included in the recommended childhood immunization schedule just like DTaP, polio and hepatitis.

While this summer RSV surge is unique, RSV outbreaks happen every year and these immunizations can keep thousands of children from the hospital and save hundreds of children's lives every year. RSV immunizations belong on the CDC's recommended immunization schedule and the Vaccines for Children program.

Brianna Mishler, Portland

Too much, too fast in digging out from COVID-19

While there is a big push to open things up full-blown post-COVID-19 but pre-the delta variant, it's hard not to be overly concerned.

Yes, we all want everything back to what we used to view as normal, but from my people inside the medical community, the variant is worse than the original outbreak on countless levels. Oregon Health & Science University, for one, is turning away patients right now due to no available beds. Patients all over the country are being shuffled to different locations because of lack of availability at the hospitals they are being brought into.

There is still an alarming amount of people not vaccinated. How they justify it is anyone's guess, but it's not based on logic or medical data.

So this begs the question: Are we opening everything up such as a schools and restaurants too soon?

We now have a new mask mandate that came down today, which includes wearing the mask outdoors [Ed.: The News-Times received this letter on Wednesday, Aug. 25, one day after Gov. Kate Brown announced the outdoor mask requirements.], but the school districts think it's a good idea to full-blown open up schools. We all want normal, nobody wants another mom-and-pop business to go out of business, everyone knows most kids learn better in the classroom versus through a Zoom call — but the current decision to open everything up seems ill-advised and a step in the wrong direction.

James Maass, Beaverton


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