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Letters to the Editor: Your selfish behavior is spreading COVID-19 and killing innocent people

Amid a crowd of protesters, a man carries a sign that says "Disobey the lockdown."
People who oppose California’s new COVID-19 restrictions protest in Huntington Beach on Nov. 21.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Emergency physician Dr. Mark Morocco writes, “It didn’t have to be this way.” I have been saying that for months, referring to our leader, President Trump, as a mass killer because his neglect and poor role modeling have led to thousands of preventable deaths. (“On the COVID frontlines, we’re tired of hearing lame excuses for risky behavior,” Opinion, Nov. 23)

Yet, the dead are dead. The Times’ profiles of COVID-19 victims have vividly portrayed the lives some of them led. In David Iribarne’s profile, which was published Nov. 20, his sister Nancy Gervais said, “I think it’s important that you tell people’s stories. They’re not numbers — they’re people.”

The selfishness conveyed by people who will not wear masks is unfathomable. I was recently watching TV when I saw one belligerent, unmasked white man, in a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd of protesters, wearing a T-shirt proclaiming, “Selfish and Proud.” If infected, he might never know whom his selfishness killed.

Thank you, Dr. Morocco and all frontline workers, for your heroic efforts.

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Jana Shaker, Riverside

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To the editor: Well said, Dr. Morocco.

Real patriotism isn’t shouting about personal liberty and declaring the pandemic a hoax. Real patriotism is saving the lives of your fellow countrymen by wearing a mask and following public health guidelines.

It seems very little to ask for a huge return, especially when professionals like Dr. Morocco are out there on the front lines really being heroes.

Joseph Devlin, Anaheim

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To the editor: Dr. Morocco’s article was the most impassioned, spot-on testament I have ever read. Bravo.

Like him, I was on the front lines of a pandemic. As a firefighter, I was accustomed to the danger I faced going into burning buildings. But, I felt no such jeopardy as an EMT when treating patients experiencing medical emergencies.

But in 1982, firefighters were shocked to learn that the newly discovered AIDS disease was a killer. At the time we did not use protective equipment when treating people in the field, so we had to adopt an entirely new respect for the dangers we faced as EMTs.

My experience then has affected my response to COVID-19. As a retired firefighter, I had to be told only once to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash my hands. But, I can imagine how non-emergency personnel may scoff at taking these protective measures.

The people flouting COVID-19 guidelines are blind to a killer in their midst. Dr. Morocco’s op-ed article is the light they need to find a way to responsible, adult behavior.

Bill Smart, Santa Barbara


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