Letters to the Editor: A doctor fighting COVID-19 without a mask is like a soldier fighting without a gun

COVID-19 testing
A nurse at a drive-up COVID-19 testing station set up by the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle on March 13, 2020.
(Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)

To the editor: Can you imagine a soldier with no helmet, flak jacket or ammunition being ordered to fight for our country? (“Doctors and nurses brace for coronavirus onslaught: ‘What happens if I end up on a ventilator?’” March 20)

I am an emergency physician in Los Angeles, and our government has failed us on so many levels in the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationwide, healthcare workers are running out of masks, gowns, disinfectant wipes and face shields. Most recently, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggested that if healthcare workers run out of supplies, we could use bandanas and scarves to protect ourselves.

As healthcare workers, we know the enormity of what is ahead of us. We are going to do whatever it takes to save as many people as we can, even if we are armed only with bandanas and scarves.


I urge everyone to write or call their elected leaders. We are in a war, and we need more than bandanas and scarves to fight this war. We need to ramp up production now and use all the resources we have.

We also need everyone who can do so to stay home so that we have a fighting chance to save lives. I know it’s inconvenient. I know it may be depressing. For many, it may even mean bankruptcy. But for those of you who end up in the hospital, it will literally be the difference between life and death.

This is the only bullet we have right now against this virus. We lost the opportunity to contain this when we had a chance two months ago.

Maximillian Yang, MD, Torrance


To the editor: I am a nurse practitioner who must watch the heroism of my fellow nurses from a distance as I shelter in place.

President Trump ignored the credible warnings that this would be the worst pandemic of our lifetime. Dr. Larry Brilliant, the epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox, has called what Trump has done “the most irresponsible act of an elected official that I have seen.”

The scores of illnesses and deaths and the economic damage caused by COVID-19 could have been averted had we been prepared.

Many years ago, upon hearing of the egregious acts committed by a corrupt Chicago politician, my father-in-law’s response was, “Throw the bum out.” These are words to remember in November.

Jacqueline Ficht, South Pasadena


To the editor: As a layperson, I have only a few simple, humble words to those brave people at the front lines of this insidious and unseen threat: We thank you for your selfless sacrifice and will owe you more than we can ever repay.

William W. Carter, Newbury Park