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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Doctors not having masks isn’t something that should happen in America

Coronavirus protective gear
A nurse puts on protective gear as she prepares to attend to a patient confirmed to have COVID-19 at a hospital in Paris on March 13.
(AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: The COVID-19 outbreak, and our government’s response, has, well, unmasked our inadequacies. (“Your hoarding could cost me my life — a doctor’s view from the coronavirus front lines,” Opinion, March 15)

Every day, as an ophthalmologist, I’m examining patients about six inches from my face. These are patients with critical eye problems who cannot wait it out. There is no choice for them, or for me. My duty to my patients, and profession, cannot be compromised.

My colleagues in emergency rooms and intensive care units are working in even higher-risk environments. There is no reason for personal protective equipment, like special masks, to be in shortage.

Our hospitals are doing everything they can to support us but need the government to do more. Hopefully we will learn lessons from this experience and be better prepared when (not if) the next pandemic strikes.

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Ahsan M. Khan, M.D., Fullerton

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To the editor: China has reported a drastic drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases. The authorities there did not wait a year for a vaccine. Look at photos from China and you see nearly everyone wearing masks.

We in the United States are told not to wear masks, most likely because our healthcare workers don’t have enough for themselves. The fact that masks are so important for nurses and doctors strongly suggests that all of us should be wearing them.

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We have a grave need to import masks immediately, but demand far exceeds supply. It is essential that the United States immediately begins manufacturing and distributing adequate quantities of face masks and other protective gear to its own healthcare system and citizens.

This is an emergency measure that we should control ourselves as opposed to relying on other countries.

Dan O’Connell, Canyon Country


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