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The News-Times publishes a couple of reader letters about taking action against the pandemic(s).

Editor's note: Have a letter to share? Email your thoughts to Editor-in-Chief Mark Miller at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Letters should be no more than 400 words. All submissions must include the name and hometown of the author. Commercial solicitations and campaign announcements will not be accepted as letters to the editor. Submissions should not include profane or defamatory language. We may lightly edit submissions for style and clarity.

Another health crisis is still unfolding

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact across the globe, with millions of lives and livelihoods lost, unlike anything we've experienced in decades. The last time the entire world was this focused on a pandemic was over two decades ago, when HIV/AIDS was killing almost 4,000 people every day and new infections were doubling every year.

Since then, the global response to AIDS has largely been a success story, with millions of lives being saved through testing, treatment and prevention efforts. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to stop or even reverse this progress. On World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, it's important to remember HIV/AIDS is still a crisis. [Ed.: This letter to the editor was received last Wednesday, Dec. 1.]

In 2020, there were 1.5 million new infections and 680,000 AIDS-related deaths. People living with HIV/AIDS are at more severe risk of COVID-19 and live in parts of the world with limited access to COVID vaccines. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to almost 70% of people living with HIV, but less than 5% of the population has received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

We have the power to beat both of these viruses. We just need the will. That's why it's so important that Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici show support for programs that are helping the fight against both COVID and AIDS, like the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, one of the most effective and efficient health organizations on the planet.

Michael Kalkofen, Beaverton

Talk all you like, just wear a mask

More than a thousand Americans are still dying from COVID every day, but I walk into my local Fred Meyer and still see people who aren't wearing masks.

Sure, wearing masks is an inconvenience and we're all tired of it but it helps to slow the spread of COVID.

I have noticed, however, that the Interstate Fred Meyer in Portland has someone at the door asking the maskless to mask up. Seems like a good idea.

I sometimes hear people say things like, "I have a right to have control over my body." Well, yes, you do, but when you exercise your right in a way that denies my rights, then we have a conflict or a collision of rights. So you can get as drunk as you want at home, but you can't drive your car on the public streets and highways if you are drunk. We have laws which handle these collisions of rights.

So if you are not vaccinated and and if you are also not wearing a mask in public places you are a potential danger to others. So mask up. Do it for yourself, those around you and for your country. It's fine to complain and talk about your rights, but just do the right thing.

Ray Horn, Scappoose

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