Readers Respond

We must not pretend COVID has gone away | READER COMMENTARY

A woman holds a sign proclaiming her belief that she doesn't need to be vaccinated or wear a mask because Jesus will protect her from coronavirus outside the City Hall in Los Angeles, California, File. (David McNew/AFP/Getty Images)

In her recent column, Michelle Deal-Zimmerman says that the COVID virus has decades of fight left in it, and I agree (”Michelle Deal-Zimmerman: COVID marks 3-year anniversary. But as some celebrate, others calibrate.” March 14). COVID is still spreading, and doctors and nurses are witnesses to this fact. Michelle Deal-Zimmermann wants people to stay home when sick, test before large gatherings, get a booster and wear a mask, preferably an N95.

As a doctor, I’ve seen none of this actually happening. I continue to get phone calls from my patients that they have tested positive for COVID-19. These infected patients present themselves at various clinics to be seen for antivirals. They go shopping and to restaurants.


Among those with COVID-19 are many asymptomatic carriers and spreaders. Therein lies the insidiousness of COVID-19. Those who barely have symptoms don’t test themselves. They then spread the virus inadvertently, giving a chance for it to infect others and mutate in the process.

On May 11, the federal government will end the national COVID public health emergency, and this will be a disaster for poor patients on Medicaid and old people on Medicare. At-home tests will cease to be covered. Vaccines won’t be free. The uninsured, of which there are many, will neither test nor vaccinate.


We will pretend that COVID-19 has gone away officially because we don’t want COVID to have the upper hand over our rickety, casino-style capitalism, and COVID will emerge the victor then, getting a lease on its life.

As a physician, I dread the consequences because COVID-19 can infect people multiple times with devastating long-term impact.

— Usha Nellore, Bel Air

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