Readers skeptical of “working paper” on COVID shutdowns

Skeptical of “working paper” on COVID shutdowns

Re: “Lockdowns — tremendous cost, few lives saved,” March 13 commentary

Krista Kafer has again demonstrated the idea of “just enough knowledge to be dangerous.”

Her column about a working paper (no peer review) assembled by three economists (not medical people) stating that lockdowns for COVID saved almost no lives is more controversial than she would have us believe. One author, an economics professor at Johns Hopkins, and two others, none with credentials for epidemiology, try to make the case that lockdowns did not save enough lives to justify the economic and educational costs.

While one of the authors is a Johns Hopkins professor, that institution did not endorse the paper. A number of medical studies disagree with the conclusions, in large part because the studies they used and the methods were economic, not medical.

Kafer goes to great lengths to illustrate the economic costs of lockdowns. She presents none to show the benefit. We are well-aware of the economic costs of the pandemic. With her columns, The Post is often guilty of promoting disinformation!

Lael Moe, Arvada

Kafer recounts at some length the pain and disruption of the lockdowns and related “non-pharmaceutical interventions” ordered by various government authorities trying to deal with the coronavirus pandemic of the past two years. We are all too familiar with this information, having lived (fortunately) through it. The much more interesting side of the important subject she raises, and one which she glosses over, is the effect on lives saved of these difficult measures.

So, how many lives were saved by shutting down parts of the economy? How in the world can that be estimated? How does one quantify the tradeoff of lives saved or lost for economic pain or gain? What is an acceptable threshold for lives saved versus dollars lost? What should state and local governments do instead?

Answering or discussing these types of questions would make an interesting column. The rest is just whining.

Bill Moore, Denver

The Denver Post editors have repeatedly allowed Krista Kafer to spread COVID misinformation to support her agenda. Her latest complaint that puts money, greed and corporate welfare over the costs of lives cite a literal working paper that has not been peer-reviewed and published.

A Google search of that paper reveals critics that question the methodology, yet Kafer again cherry-picks the data that supports her agenda. The scientific process includes healthy peer review before results can be accepted.

Chad Schell, Arvada

Fix Colorado’s self-defense laws

Re: “When is a homicide justified?” March 13 commentary

A law whose threshold for using deadly force requires that the individual believes that he is in imminent danger of death or great bodily injury and that a lesser degree of force would not be adequate is a proper standard for self-defense. I, therefore, disagree with your suggestion that Colorado law “give[s] a free pass to those who kill.”

The state is tasked with proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant did not act in self-defense. Since this seemingly strange allocation of the burden of proof is constitutionally mandated, let’s not blame it on “Colorado law.”

There is another factor that should be considered: When an individual introduces a firearm into a confrontation, it can change the very nature of the confrontation by heightening his perception of the level of danger he faces and by increasing the actual level and risk of danger.

He will argue that any aggressive behavior by the other person, when confronted with that gun, provides a reasonable basis for him to believe that the person intended to cause him serious bodily harm. He also limits his ability to defend himself: Will he allow the other person to get near his gun? Is he free to wrestle, grapple with or punch his opponent while holding the gun? The armed person will contend that he had no other choice but to protect himself by using the gun.

Perhaps we should consider requiring that a person armed with a gun must, where reasonably possible, attempt to back off or retreat before using deadly force.

Charlie Silverman, Denver

I agree with your conclusion that today it is too easy for people to kill people and that many situations we see including three of the four you mention, were inappropriate uses of guns. I disagree that Lee Keltner’s death is an example.

It is a tragedy that Lee Keltner is dead. However, Keltner, with no provocation, verbally assaulted, physically assaulted and then chemically assaulted security guard Matthew Dolloff in the space of about 15 seconds. Since Keltner was also armed with a gun, it is reasonable that Dolloff could — in the seconds he had to assess the situation — assume a weapons assault was coming next.

It is so very sad that Dolloff had to resort to a gun for self-defense, but given the attack he was under, his situation was different from the others you described. He was actually defending himself.

It is clear that guns make every situation more dangerous. In all of those you listed, if the individuals had not been armed with a gun or knife, deaths would not have occurred.

Alex Davis, Lafayette

Big Oil is not the enemy some would have you think

Re: “Gains and losses,” March 13 commentary

Columnist Ian Silverii really seems to have it out for oil and gas producers which he describes as “disingenuous” and “unscrupulous” out to “bilk” consumers and generate “unscrupulous profits” for themselves. He laments that Occidental Petroleum increased its dividend and is deleveraging its balance sheet by retiring $2.5 bilion of debt. Yes, Silverii, this is how our free market system works. Companies invest in risky ventures, hope to be successful, make a profit and return some of that profit to their shareholders.

Silverii does not seem to understand that oil and gas companies are not price setters, but rather price takers. They do not set oil prices, that is done by the global oil market because oil is a global commodity. If the price of a company’s raw material increases, whether it be oil, iron ore or corn (or any other commodity), it is reasonable to expect the prices of finished products — fuels from oil, steel from iron ore and corn flakes from corn — will increase also and every single oil producer, steel company and corn farmer will realize higher profits. This is Economics 101.

John A. Cleveland, Littleton

Democrats are likely to lose legislative dominance in D.C. come November due to a perfect storm of factors including voters on-going disapproval of the Biden presidency, flailing leadership in both the Senate and House, and the current climate of international chaos. Certainly dramatic inflation manifested specifically at the gas pump is front and center, and hence the party and its sycophants in the press are scrambling to divorce itself from any hint of accountability.

Witness uber-progressive Ian Silverii’s diatribe on the front page of Sunday’s Perspective.

After quoting Winston Churchill’s “never let a good crisis go to waste” rather than the more contemporary and germane adoption of it by Rahm Emmanuel, he trots out the tired “Big Oil is exploiting” distraction in order to lay blame. “The price of gasoline is high right now” he shockingly reveals, while arguing that solely “the market will dictate gas prices” right after claiming that the oil and gas companies have “absolutely no incentive to get the price…lower” or to get it to go higher. You can’t have it both ways. If it’s just a function of the market, then the oil and gas industry can’t simply “get” the price to their liking.

But the clincher is his pronouncement that the party in power “has nothing to do with the price of gasoline.” In fairness, if I was the party of the Green New Deal, the Keystone pipeline shutdown and drilling on public lands lease freeze as a symbolic first order of business, the appointment of Sarah Bloom Raskin to the Fed, or the majority party on whose watch the U.S. began testing the waters to buy oil from the likes of Venezuela, the Saudis, and I kid you not, Iran, I’d plead nolo contendre too.

The party in charge does have much to do with the current and temporary high price of gasoline. And it will rightly suffer the displeasure of the electorate.

Jon Pitt, Golden

Teaching through discussion

Re: “The problem with campus ‘debate’,” March 13 commentary

Seth Masket makes excellent points about the difference between debate and discussion in teaching at a university. I was a political science professor for 40 years at a liberal arts college in Ohio (Wittenberg University) where one of the most stimulating classes taught by a colleague was entitled “Liberals/Conservatives.” For the first half of the semester, students read conservative texts and in the second, liberal ones.

And here’s the kicker: The professor would argue a conservative stance during the first half and a liberal one in the second. Students had no idea what his real beliefs were, but they thoroughly and enthusiastically discussed and learned about these perspectives. Many cite even today the impact of this learning experience. This is a creative way to address contentious topics and, most importantly, to learn about them. It’s “discussion” at its best.

George E. Hudson, Westminster

Abortion law forces health care workers to make tough choice

Re: “Lawmakers advance bill on abortion rights,” March 11 news story

Honorable Colorado legislators,

I implore you to fight against House Bill 1279. I am a nurse and know that at some point in my career I will have to quit a job over ethical concerns, as some of my former nursing classmates have. This bill certainly would speed the process. I have no doubt that if passed, the abortion industry would encroach into all areas of health care. I love my job, but if forced to choose between quitting or assisting in the ending of a life, there is no choice.

These children deserve to live. They are not fertilized eggs, embryos or fetuses. They are babies. We use these terms in medicine to define the stage of life. But in the end, they are babies. I understand that fighting this requires courage, but our children and parents deserve everything we can give.

I ask you to vote no on this bill in the Senate and to strenuously and publicly object. I also ask that you give support to pro-life centers and hospice, as they are important alternatives to abortion.

This bill says most people agree with it. I do not believe that to be true. The more you are leaders in truth, the more people will pursue the truth alongside you. That is why we elected you, to lead with moral courage. I will pray for you and our state and all the parents who feel that abortion is their only option.

Emma Hanley, Loveland

Mountain name too generic

Re: “County backs renaming effort,” March 17 news story

I absolutely support renaming Colorado’s Mount Evans. I absolutely support doing so in a way that honors Colorado’s Arapaho and Cheyenne people.

But the name proposed at this time, “Mount Blue Sky,” strikes me as unimaginative, weak and generic. It is something I would expect to see on the label of a can of air freshener.

I fully understand the connection to the Arapaho and Cheyenne nations, but something gets badly lost in translation into English. And in the context of a geographic feature rather than a people or an event. Those nations, and that mountain, deserve better.

There must be some name that expresses the same respect and inclusion and history, in a uniquely Colorado way, without resembling corporate branding at its most insipid. The same name, rendered in an original native language, would be one obvious improvement. There must be many others.

I respectfully suggest that Gov. Jared Polis reject this particular name (while supporting the need for a change completely) and send the proposal back for more thought.

Andrew Piper, Denver

The inflation blame game

Re: “Unhappy with Biden’s inflation,” March 15 letter to the editor

Not surprisingly, the letter writer fails to provide any support for his angry correlation of inflation with the Biden presidency. This inflation has roots that well precede Joe Biden’s inauguration just over a year ago. That said, the fact that Donald Trump is gone from the White House doesn’t just make me happy; I am ecstatic.

Bruce Williams, Denver

Thanks, Denver Post, for counter-balancing a letter blasting President Biden about the price of gas with a cartoon. That side-by-side cartoon had one person complaining about gas balanced with a poor woman in Ukraine fleeing to save her life. Let us note that the letter writer who complained conveniently ignored the high gas price Americans paid when President George W. Bush invaded Iraq. The gas price today is lower than the high price back then.

Jeff Baysinger, Lakewood

Making property tax less fair

Re: “State should limit increases in homes’ assessed value,” March 17 commentary

I was disappointed to see Reps. Alex Valdez and Colin Larson propose to include the worst aspect of California’s disastrous Prop. 13 into Colorado’s tax code (i.e., appraisals are reset when a property is sold).

This could result in a situation where a long-term resident with a paid-off mortgage such as myself would pay substantially less property tax than the young family with small children who just moved in across the street. A case can be made to put some form of cap on property tax growth during times of rapidly increasing real estate values, but this type of unfairness has no place in our tax structure.

Joe Lothringer, Centennial

Thoughts on dealing with Russian invasion of Ukraine

I am afraid that the only way to stop the Russian attack on Ukraine is to threaten the Russian homeland. Horrible thought, but are we seeing a repeat of Hitler in 1939?

Let us dare to talk of this.

Sol Shapiro, Aurora

Last Saturday I went to see “Hamilton,” and throughout the performance, I could not get the Ukraine war out of my mind. In the play, Washington is outgunned, outmanned and outfinanced. France comes to the rescue.

We watch now while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy leads his nation in a war against evil while outgunned, outmanned and outfinanced.

It is a war with no real purpose, with daily war crimes and blatant destruction and terror.

We are supporting Ukraine by sending in munitions.

The world cannot refuse to confront Russian leader Vladimir Putin because of his threats to use nuclear or chemical weapons. It’s highly unlikely he would ever do so and risk annihilation.

If Putin is allowed to continue this war, he will be emboldened for his next conquest.

Allow the Ukrainian pilots to go to Poland and fly the MiGs back to defend their airspace. This is certainly a high-impact, low-risk action.

Kevin Mindenhall, Denver

Keep Denver City Council in check with subpoena power

Re: “Denver City Council repeals auditor’s subpoena powers,” March 15 news story

The objections from the Denver City Council to allow the city auditor to do his job reeks of fear that something is amiss.

What are they afraid of? Nepotism, bad management practices, ignorance (like the contractual debacles at DIA)?

Audits are in place for a reason; they protect the public from dishonesty in government. Tying the hands of the auditor is very suspect.

Elaine Little, Denver

A new alliance for peace

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the U.S. Congress. He wants the leaders of all free countries to establish a new united alliance. Recently, he acknowledged that even though Ukraine had been encouraged to apply for NATO membership, he knows it will not become a reality soon enough to help his country.

Zelenskyy stated that he feels that his life is senseless if he cannot stop the death in his country. Let us help him. Let us join a new alliance that does not prohibit the neediest members from joining forces to prevent more evil and death from aggressors. An organization that prohibits membership for the countries that desperately need it is clearly not as good as it could be.

Our freedoms depend on it. If our leadership in the U.S. executive branch is slow to respond to what is needed, then let us apply our pressure to form this new united alliance.

Jeanne S. Hughes, Castle Rock

In defense of Curative

Re: “Investigate contract for faulty COVID-19 tests,” March 5 commentary

In reference to George Brauchler’s opinion column, Curative stands behind all of our testing throughout the pandemic in Colorado and around the country. Unfortunately, Brauchler does not reflect all the facts.

For example, on the issue of a no-bid contract, as documented in the media and legislative testimony, the state of Colorado’s public health officials evaluated potential testing options. Through the task force’s evaluation process, Curative was identified as the best option available to meet the specific needs of Colorado’s testing efforts. In addition, Sarah Tuneberg, who ran Colorado’s COVID-19 testing in 2020 into January 2021, has said that the state health department’s analysis of the possible impact of using Curative tests in nursing homes found the use of Curative did not have negative outcomes in long-term-care facilities. To suggest that the use of Curative’s COVID-19 tests was a “complete failure” is misleading and false.

As the pandemic has continued, and because of our differentiated testing options and platforms, Curative has been a testing provider of choice for numerous public and private organizations in over 40 states, administering over 30 million COVID-19 tests throughout the pandemic.

Fred Turner, San Dimas, Calif.

Editor’s note: Turner is the CEO and co-founder of Curative.

Beware the wolf at the door

Is an abacus more accurate than a calculator? Is a slide rule able to calculate faster than a computer? Would you trade the computer power of your cellphone with that of ENIAC?

These questions reflect and underscore the ignorance behind the quest to mandate the hand count of ballots. Are we ever going to get over the angst of the 2020 “Big Lie?” After countless challenges and court cases, the findings are unanimous that the 2020 election was as secure and accurate as any preceding.

I, for one, want this malicious hysteria fomented by Trumpites to cease and desist. Carl Jung warned of the wolf within as opposed to international intrigue being the root cause of the end of the great American experiment.

Those of you Republicans who have drunk from the Trump Kool-Aid fountain embody the wolf within. Your deification of Trump and his rhetoric is set to tear our republic asunder.

If you love yourself, your family, your freedom and your prosperity, you will let the scales fall from your eyes and embrace the truth and the sanctity of our Constitution.

Bob Bonacci, Littleton

Healthy school meals are critical

Too many students are food insecure. As retired physicians, we know that good nutrition is of vital importance for normal brain development and for all children to concentrate, learn, and achieve academically. Healthy food also contributes to emotional stability and a decreased likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, which is increasing in children. That’s why we urge our legislators to support this year’s Senate Bill 87, Healthy School Meals for All, which reimburses schools for the meals they serve.

Provisions in this bill to increase incentives to purchase and prepare locally sourced food would help local farmers and strengthen our food system and economy. This bill will also help nutrition service workers by creating a grant to increase low salaries. Additionally, parents and students can have meaningful input on the composition of the meals served.

Moreover, this bill would take away the embarrassing stigma students feel when they can’t pay for school meals.

In summary, it’s very difficult for hungry kids to learn. Passage of this bill would be an investment in our children.

Lorrie F. Odom and John A. Odom Jr., Wheat Ridge

Protect children from arrest

Re: “Lawmakers want to raise minimum age for charges,” March 5 news story

I applaud the effort to prevent children from being treated as criminals. Identity formation develops during adolescence and we can label bad behavior without labeling kids bad. There used to be the term “CHINS” for “child in need of supervision,” which could result in increased supervision by parents or by the juvenile or family court, based on individualized assessment of the needs and resources available, to assure services, but did not label the child a delinquent or the parents neglectful.

With kids entering puberty at 10 now, which brings dramatic increases in impulsivity and instability in the brain, many kids go through a rough patch between 10 and 14, and make mistakes. As Elise Logemann was quoted: “We forget these are children, whether they are 10 or 17, we forget their brains are not developed…”

Children change rapidly — for better or worse. Juvenile justice should strive to encourage better.

Gail Ryan, Lakewood

Cancel the I-25 toll road addition

For years, the taxpayers of Colorado have wasted countless hours waiting in traffic jams to see the end of the expansion to three lanes in both directions from Monument to Castle Rock. We drive this road to support Denver’s sports teams, DIA, doctors, etc.

Now the taxpayers discover that the “third lane” added is a toll lane. Did the taxpayers of Colorado agree to this, heck no. Now this stretch of highway is the only toll road on Interstate 25, why? There were no toll lanes added during T-Rex, Colorado Springs or Pueblo expansions to improve I-25. Why now are tax-paying Coloradans being subjected to paying tolls on I-25? So, the rich will pay the tolls and the have nots will be subjected to another tax or stay in their lane and it will be business as usual in the great state of Colorado? Gov. Polis, please get involved and turn I-25 back into a Free-Way not into a Tax-Way that just punishes our taxpayers.

Curtis Urban, Pueblo

Gradual change since prohibition

Re: “Keeping liquor out of grocery stores good for state,” March 11 guest commentary

I find it humorous to read opinions citing dire straights of an industry or the effects it will have on our state. The “sky is falling” or “slippery slope” arguments are a common thread. Currently the crisis here is wine being sold in grocery stores. There has been no “sudden or radical changes” to our liquor laws. This has been happening ever since Greeley, and Colorado Springs prohibited the sale or manufacture of liquor in 1896.

We have been creeping toward adults making decisions about purchasing liquor ever since. You can tap dance around the fact with a lot of fun numbers, but this will happen at some point, no matter who owns what. If people can drain their bank accounts gambling with companies that the Mannings endorse then what’s a bottle of wine in a grocery store? Rip that Band-aid off and let’s party!

Sue Cole, Centennial

Welcome, Russell Wilson, really

Re: “No slow transition for Hackett,” March 13 sports column

How about a welcome to Russell Wilson instead of beating him over the head, à la Mark Kiszla, and I quote, “Each and every season Wilson is the starting quarterback there’s no reason for Denver to take a back seat to Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Aaron Rodgers or any other team in the league. There’s every reason the Broncos should be in the championship conversation from the first snap Wilson takes wearing orange and blue.”

Colorado is a friendly place. We welcome you, Russell Wilson, to Denver and the Mile High City full of Bronco fans. We are so happy you are joining us!

Dea Coschignano, Wheat Ridge

Unhappy with Biden’s inflation

To all of you liberals and socialists who voted for President Joe Biden.To all of you RINO’s and “never Trumpers” who voted for Biden.

Are you happy yet?

About two years ago I paid $1.99 for a gallon of gas. Today (12 Mar 2022 at City Market) — $4.26. And it ain’t because of Russian President Vladimir Putin invading Ukraine.

Are you happy yet?

An item I like to occasionally treat myself to is triple from that same time. How are the prices for your staples and favorites?

Are you happy yet?

Bud Garner, Cortez

Don’t suspend the gas tax

Re: “Treasury secretary says suspension of the federal gas tax … ,” March 12 news story

Many Coloradans are struggling with inflation and cost of living, which is why Gov. Jared Polis’ support of the federal Gas Prices Relief Act sounds good on the surface. Yet, if this bill passes Congress, our communities will be left worse off because of the damage it will do to our infrastructure across the state.

I argue that the few hundred dollars this measure might keep in the pockets of families over the course of nine months is more detrimental than beneficial. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ Failure to Act report states that the below adequate infrastructure in the U.S. costs the average family $3,300 per year. This will only get more costly by the loss of $20 billion (funded by the gas tax).

With Colorado’s roads and transit facilities evaluated at grades of a C-, and our bridges earning a C+, I struggle to understand why Polis thinks we can afford to hold off on repairs and maintenance of our transportation system,

I urge the governor to reconsider.

Sarah Klarich, Denver

Editor’s note: Klarich is the government affairs chair for the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Behavior double standard

Re: “House speaker says Boebert, Greene ‘should just shut up’,” March 4 news story

According to your article regarding the heckling by Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert at the State of the Union, Nancy Pelosi was quoted as saying that they “should just shut up.”

While I agree that the congresswomen should have voiced their opinions afterward rather than shouting during the speech, their actions were no more classless than Nancy Pelosi dramatically ripping up her copy of the State of the Union address delivered by President Donald Trump. What’s good for the goose …

Donna Jorgenson Farrell, Broomfield

Climate change predictions are worse than thought

Re: “Report shows planet is ‘getting clobbered’ ” and “3.3 billion people’s daily lives ‘are highly vulnerable’ to extreme weather,” March 1 news stories

Two recent articles in the Denver Post present unmistakably alarming scenarios, should the planet’s residents ignore the multiple and ominous existential warnings of increasing climate change and its deleterious effects on our common home.

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report noted that unless definitive actions are taken at once, the world and its populations will become sicker, hungrier, poorer, gloomier and way more dangerous in the next 18 years. Indeed, the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres asserted that the people and planet are presently “getting clobbered by climate change,” a threat to “human well-being and planetary health.”

A second article noted that, in addition to excessive heat, extensive wildfires and increasing droughts, deadly floods will become more treacherously common in low-lying countries, with as many as 2 million people being displaced along coasts within the next 25 years.

To take a resigned attitude or to declare that none of the apocalyptic warnings lack significant impact, since it may appear that nothing can be done to forestall climate change’s effects, is shameful avoidance, pure and simple. Each individual needs to step up to the plate and fulfill his/her moral obligation of taking responsibility for deterring the detrimental impact of climate change on society and the planet. Many small acts by everyday folk can create a cascading global effect.

Howard Zinn stated it perfectly, “Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can quietly become a power no government can suppress, a power that can transform the world.”

Tom Stumpf, Longmont

Conserve gas, protect Earth

There have been many articles bemoaning high prices at the gas pump. For many years, decades really, I’ve wondered at what price per gallon would people stop excessive driving or wasting gas by needless idling while applying makeup, checking cellphones, and fast food drive-thrus. Needless idling is against the law in Colorado that carries a fine of $175.

One would think living in Colorado, people would be more concerned about our fragile environment. People are unaware that an average car traveling 11,000 miles annually dumps 4,000 pounds of pollutants into the atmosphere. Doing simple math one can realize the enormous pollution impact.

With the war in Ukraine, now is the time we can collectively send a message to Putin. If we all made a small commitment to a habit of less driving, huge impacts environmentally and morally would be realized.

Bob Shaver, Denver

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Letters: Readers skeptical of “working paper” on COVID shutdowns

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