Letters to the Editor
Let's keep wearing those masks
The assertion in Lynn Allen's recent letter that "masks have
no value in stopping viral infection" cannot go unchallenged. We
are entering a period of low humidity, when dry air makes aerosol droplets
we expel when we cough or talk or merely breath remain suspended in the
air longer than in humid weather. Scientists estimate that a 1 percent
drop in humidity accounts for a 7 to 8 percent increase in COVID-19 cases.
So we're entering a high risk season around here.
First, Allen says that since viruses are sub-microscopic, they can pass
through a mask as easily as a mosquito passes through a chain link fence.
That may be true. But when we spew these viruses, they are suspended in
droplets of fluid, which can indeed be contained by two or three layers
No responsible advocate for mask wearing contends that it stops virus
spread entirely, but there is mounting, well-documented evidence that
it does curb transmission. Some of this evidence comes from studying real
life situations. For example, researchers found that seamen aboard the
USS Theodore Roosevelt who routinely wore face masks became infected at
a much lower rate than those seamen who did not wear masks; and protesters
following George Floyd's death, the great majority of whom wore masks,
caused no detectable spike in COVID-19 cases.
Some of the evidence also comes from lab research. We've all seen
the videos demonstrating that how far droplets expelled by humans travel
when they sneeze, cough, sing or talk depends on whether or not they are
In another ind of experiment that has been replicated numerous times,
subjects coughed near Petri dishes while wearing no face covering, then
wearing a cloth mask, and then a disposable mask. These experiments all
show that when the germs in the droplets had time to grow, the cultures
of the unmasked coughs were loaded with germ growth, the cloth mask let
few germs through, and the disposable mask let almost none through.
So let's do the responsible - and dare I say, patriotic - thing and
keep wearing those masks.
- Corinne Chafey, Meadville
Appeared in the Meadville Tribune on Friday, September 25, 2020
Health, safety of Allegheny, Meadville has been top priority
I want to update our Meadville neighbors about Allegheny College's
COVID-19 mitigation plans and progress. Since the pandemic's outbreak,
the physical and emotional health and safety of the campus and Meadville
communities have been our top priority.
For the past 18-plus weeks, members of our 12 operational teams, comprised
of faculty, staff, administrators and students, have been preparing for
a secure and effective return to campus. Together we developed a plan
that addresses testing, sanitation and disinfection, reduced classroom
headcount and seating, face coverings, travel restrictions, quarantine,
self-isolation and more - all toward the objective of keeping our students,
faculty staff and local community as safe as possible.
We have been monitoring the situation daily and receiving health guidance
from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the CDC and experts in medicine,
epidemiology and pandemic management from our Allegheny College Health
While some students have tested positive, everyone's unprecedented
cooperation has resulted in less than 1 percent of our student population
with COVID-19 at any time. The current positivity rate is 0.1 percent.
All positive cases have been isolated, and anyone considered to have been
exposed - through extensive contact tracing - has been quarantined.
The most recent test results have exceeded expectations. Students have
done a great job abiding by the Gator Pledge, enabling us to lift the
campus-wide quarantine effective Sept. 15, except for anyone designated
for individual isolation or quarantine by the ACHA. Every student and
member of our faculty and staff will continue to observe mask and distance
requirements on campus and off. Next week we will begin ongoing, systematic,
rapid screening of students, faculty and staff five days a week to identify
any new COVID-19 cases. We will take swift and appropriate action to isolate
them in an effort to keep the campus and community as safe as possible.
Allegheny College has shown that it was better prepared to meet COVID-19
prevention requirements than many other U.S. colleges and universities.
We will continue our diligence and maintain careful monitoring for the
well-being of your families, our students, faculty and staff.
- Hilary Link, Meadville
Appeared in the Meadville Tribune on Friday, September 18, 2020
Amazing team of nurses at MMC
Nurses Week has historically been celebrated every year in remembrance
of Florence Nightingale's birthday on May 12.
In honor of Ms. Nightingale's 200th birthday, the World Health Organization
declared that 2020 was to be the Year of the Nurse.
Here at Meadville Medical Center we have been making plans for months
to celebrate our own nurses. Unfortunatley, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
we are not celebrating as planned.
During this time our nurses have bravely served our community. While our
positive cases in Crawford County have been thankfully low; we still have
to be prepared.
Our nurses are all masked, many with head coverings as well.
As I round on the units, I have to look into their eyes and at their ID
badges, to know who I am talking to.
When I look into their eyes, I see a variety of things. And while I cannot
see their mouths, I can see their eyes "sparkle" when they smile.
I see confidence. I see compassion. And I hear them say, "We got
In the words of Ms. Nightingale, "I am certainly convinced that the
greatest heroes are those who do their 'duty' in the daily grind
of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel."
I am honored to lead this amazing team of nurses. Just doing their 'duty'
as the world 'whirls.'
Happy Nurses Week.
-Valerie B. Waid, Chief Nursing Executive, Meadville Medical Center
Appeared in the Meadville Tribune on Saturday, May 9, 2020
This letter is in
response to a letter submitted by Valerie B. Waid concerning respect for
the nurses at Meadville
I was admitted to the fourth floor of the medical center Monday, Nov.
11, early morning. I was greeted with a pleasant room looking inviting.
The nurses were waiting for me and started my care immediately. This is
the way I was treated the three days of my stay.
I wasn't allowed to eat or drink, but I learned I could have ice chips.
Not one time was I refused. My back was bathed-yes it's true. Respiratory
people-the two young college men are learning as they go. Each and every
one of those who were part of my care earned my respect. They each took
a minute or two to help quiet my pain and fears.
After I was home a few days, I received a special well-wishing note from
"the fourth floor", listing their names.
My thanks to all who cared for me, including Dr. Carr. He was very special
and respectful to this 85-year-old former patient.
-Mary Ann Weifenbach, Conneaut Lake
Appeared in the Meadville Tribune Thursday, December 12, 2019
Invest in youth; also create drug court
The reported conversation at Wednesday's City Council meeting was
disappointing. Complaining how constituents use public space is unproductive.
Councilman Jim Roha noted,:"Unfortunately, you can't legislate
considerate, polite behavior." However, there are evidence-based
programs that could be implemented to promote positive safety, health,
economic and social outcomes for our community. There are also systemic
processes observed to reinforce these behaviors.
The City of Meadville and Crawford County government funds and approves
projects deepening the institutions creating myriad negative outcomes
and then laments the consequences. They ought to explore avenues proven
to generate positive outcomes.
Here are two suggestions for contemplation. If you agree, please reach
out and let's talk. If you seek behavioral changes in public and private
spaces countywide, create and fund accessible, safe, clean and sober spaces
for youth. Also, create a drug court focusing on restorative justice and
If you want community members' behaviors to improve, you need to model
these behaviors. During adolescence, the mind, body and spirit are growing
rapidly. We develop our children's mind for 8 hours a day and leave
them to their own devices the other 16 hours of the day.
It's common knowledge it takes a village to raise a child and as we've
moved from this model civility has declined. We need to wrap up our youth
in positive growth oportunities and help them grow into happy, healthy,
considerate and polite community members. We need to invest in our youth.
Secondly, we've wasted millions of tax dollars over the last decade
on penal institution infrastructure. Crawford County's jail population
has exploded over the last five years, nearly doubling. Many of those
incarcerated are there as a result of struggling with a chronic and progressive
physical, mental and spiritual malady. We take these sick people, isolate
them from healthy influences, magnify their character defects and neglect
treatment of the reason they're incarcerated.
Our public servants are wasting time complaining annually about problems
they are exacerbating with our money. If we want to see a change, we must
invest wisely in ourselves to promote positive outcomes.
- John Hartnett, Meadville
Editor's note:President of Not One More NW PA
Appeared in the Meadville Tribune Wednesday, June 27, 2018