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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Lakers can get tested, but a man whose wife died of COVID-19 can’t. Outrageous

Coronavirus testing
Medical personnel surround a car that is going through a coronavirus drive-thru test clinic in San Mateo, Calif., on March 16.
(Getty Images)

To the editor: In his March 17 piece on Lakers players being quarantined and tested for COVID-19, Sports columnist Dylan Hernandez correctly stated the coronavirus itself does not discriminate.

But our democratic system clearly valuing some lives over others sure does.

I could not help but notice the Lakers gave all asymptomatic players the “opportunity to be tested” simply because they had played against a team whose members tested positive, while, according to another article, an everyman who gave his coronavirus-infected wife mouth-to-mouth resuscitation in an unsuccessful attempt to save her life was thereafter denied testing unless and until his temperature were to rise high enough.

God bless America.

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Amy Lawrence, Burbank

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To the editor: This pandemic is a nightmare, and the lack of testing is only a small part of it. There simply are not enough tests available.

Roddy, the 72-year-old man whose wife died, should be treated as positive whether he was tested or not. The degree of contact almost guarantees transmission, and there are false negatives with any test.

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Also, to state that “he could receive supportive care only if he tested positive” is misleading. Care of sick patients goes on regardless of whether they have COVID-19 or not. There are still heart attacks, influenza, diabetes and kidney failure.

We have not abandoned the treatment of other illnesses.

Patrick A. Mauer, M.D., Pasadena

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To the editor: The basic principles of epidemic control are identify the patients, isolate and treat them, identify their contacts, test their contacts, isolate and treat if positive, and keep going until the epidemic is contained.

Until every patient who needs COVID-19 testing can get tested, the epidemic cannot be controlled. Until accurate numbers of COVID-19 cases are reported, we won’t know if the epidemic is getting better or getting worse.

President Trump has said that he wants the number of people with this disease to be kept low. Without enough tests, the numbers will be low. The financial market numbers will be low too.

A healthcare administrator told me she set up a tent in the parking lot because her urgent care clinic in the Los Angeles area has been designated a regional testing center, but she has only 200 test kits for 60,000 patients. That’s the harsh reality.

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The lack of testing is an abject failure of the federal government, plain and simple.

Daniel Fink, M.D., Beverly Hills

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To the editor: I read the sad story on your front page about the 72-year-old man who gave CPR to his wife who was dying of COVID-19, but couldn’t get tested himself because he had no symptoms.

The Lakers, in contrast, are all getting tested. It makes me wonder whether supermarkets are letting celebrities in at 2 a.m. to buy up all the toilet paper.

It also makes me wonder how many untested people are walking around with the coronavirus.

Russell Stone, Westchester


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