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Responding to a Tone Deaf public Servant and local resident

Here is my response to Bill Herbkersman's tone deaf op-ed piece in "Bluffton TOday"


Submitted to Bluffton Today in response to Bill Herbkersman

Concerns on a Tone Deaf Public Servant

Mr Herbkersman, in his weekly opinion piece published by the Bluffton Sun on April 1, 2020, displayed a callous and reckless disregard for public health and safety, in my opinion. In his op-ed piece, Mr Herbkersman states and I quote directly, “ that I am concerned that our current response to the coronavirus pandemic is overwrought and counterproductive.” Mr Herbkersman states later in his oped that “we are sacrificing our economic vitality for the dubious benefits promised by our draconian social isolation campaign.” Spoken like someone who puts profit over people’s lives. This tone deaf comment is an arrogant affront to everyone trying to “flatten the curve” of this virus. It is tone deaf to those who have Covid-19 or have died as a result of contracting Covid-19.

If his concern is the sacrifice of our economy, I humbly ask “What is the correct dollar amount to attribute to each individual who is staying home? What is the correct dollar amount to attribute to those citizens who have or will die due to your callous want to keep the economy moving while people are dying?”

Do you not understand that the dead are unable to contribute to an economy, but healthy people are? I don’t have the answer to the dollar amount question, but my gut and belief system tell me that without healthy citizens, we can not have any type of functioning economy.

I hear Mr Herbkersman expressing the viewpoint of some that we may be overreaching, but I am asking you to consider the following. While we may never know if we have overreacted, we will certainly know if we under-reached. The White House is now telling us to prepare, in best case scenario, for 100,000 to 240,000 US deaths due to Coronavirus Covid-19. Yes, our economy and the rest of the world is taking a staggering body blow because of social distancing, but we are in the best position to quickly recover once we can deploy a fast and inexpensive antibody virus test to identify who is safe to go back to work, and who must stay at home until a vaccine becomes available, hopefully in 12 to 18 months. There is no good or better choice available to us today but to quarantine in our homes until then.

Mr Herbkersman then goes on to share the following quote with us…”The war on coronavirus virus is being fought as all-out war, even though we know that only a small percentage of the warriors actually die: the elderly.” I suggest we can all manipulate statistics to argue any point, but the numbers must rationally pass the test of common sense. This statement does not pass muster . Yes, it has been reported that 31 percent of those infected are the extremely 65+ vulnerable elders, but the remaining 69 percent are the younger carriers, walking round as mildly sick, or worse – asymptomatic.

Our younger population is just as likely to become infected, but potentially with mild or asymptomatic symptoms. This asymptomatic population is much more dangerous to the general community as they invisibly spread the virus. The scientists and disaster response experts have reluctantly come to the conclusion that our only option to flatten the curve, to string out the infectious rates and protect our hospitals from crashing, is to stay off the streets. Just when you might be needing critical medical help – we need people to shelter at home, stay off the streets to bring the rate of infection down.

I urge Mr Herbkersman to acknowledge that any failure to enforce a national quarantine directly affects our national security. All of our military:

army-marine, bases, aircraft, missile silos, and ships are just as vulnerable to contagion as any cruise ship. We just temporarily lost one of our most important national security assets, the nuclear aircraft carrier, the Theodore Roosevelt, to the spreading virus. It carried over 4,000 highly trained sailors with an average age of 24. How do we maintain our military security if their crews are too sick to go to battle?

Our military consists not of the old, they are generally retired out by 55-60. Our men and women warriors are mostly in their late teens (17 to 19) and early 20s. The military is risking everything by committing their medical assets to supporting our community hospitals. In turn, we have an absolute obligation to protect the military by minimizing the community spread of this virus.

Bill- You owe the citizens of the Lowcountry, the citizens of South Carolina and the USA an apology for your shortsightedness and appalling disregard of public health and safety, as well as national security. You owe the world an apology for putting dollar signs ahead of people. If you disagree with the tone deaf attitude of Mr Herbkersman, please let him know. I am running against Bill in the November 2020 election, If you disagree with Bill, then please vote for me in November 2020. I will never put your lives in deliberate danger in pursuit of cold cash.

Mitchell Siegel

Bluffton, SC 29910

Democratic Candidate for SC118

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