May 29, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Context for COVID-19 and Masks

In his letter (“Continuing Discussions on COVID-19 and Masks,” February 18, 2021), Dr. Yosef Glassman references the frightening number of children who die of pneumonia each year. He uses these numbers to argue that those who advocate for masking during COVID, such as the CDC and all the local hospitals, ought to advocate for masking all the time to be consistent.

I am not a doctor and make no claims of being qualified for deep analysis of the issue. However, I believe that some context would be useful in evaluating how that statistic should be used in the greater conversation. Please look at the November 2019 article in Our World of Data: https://ourworldindata.org/pneumonia.

The number of children who die from pneumonia is disproportionately higher in poorer countries, and factors such as undernutrition and overcrowded living facilities very much contribute to that grim reality. In general, many numbers and statistics are thrown around on all sides of the COVID discussion. I believe that we all ought to always look up the sources for those numbers, to see the many factors involved that ought to lead to a more-nuanced evaluation of them.

Rabbi Yaakov Blau
Teaneck

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