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It’s deeply unfortunate when people with political or philosophical agendas take advantage of a current crisis like this one to spread false or misleading information in support of those agendas.

A letter published May 8 claimed -- among other obvious misrepresentations -- that cancer biopsies, stroke care and brain surgeries are examples of “shutting down elective medical care” that will cost lives. Those claims are simply untrue. Cancer testing and brain surgery are considered necessary procedures, not elective, and of course, stroke care is an emergency. Our area healthcare facilities and emergency rooms have not been overwhelmed by virus patients as have facilities elsewhere so that care remains accessible.

The greater risk for cancer patients, for example, is COVID-19 itself, not the unavailability of care. Patients can still access treatment, testing and scans as before, but the spread of the virus and its documented consequences for those with compromised immune systems can make that access downright scary, even for those of us in remission.

The best thing Oregon can do for those with health challenges is to continue to take every measure possible to prevent this virus from spreading. The author of that letter may coldly dismiss “the number of people with weak immune systems who will die” as inevitable, but every single one of those people is considered supremely valuable and utterly irreplaceable to those who love and cherish them, and every single life should be considered as we assess the risk/ reward of each step we take toward reopening our county and state. As one of the Reopen Oregon protest signs declared, “Everyone is Essential.” Even those who don’t yell and wave flags.

Mike Gaynes



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