Get the facts

Dean Edwards (Letter, Feb. 2) stated that “the use of masks and social distancing helped to promote the evolution of this virus to become more infectious.” There is simply no evidence that masks or distancing cause mutations or contribute to new SARS-CoV-2 (COVID) mutants. Mutations in RNA that make the virus more or less lethal, more or less infectious, broaden or limit host range, etc., occur randomly at predictable rates — more virus, more mutations. Viral mutants that are better equipped to survive in the host or are more transmissible typically win the big race.

Mutations occur while the virus is in the host (we are the hosts; a virus is not alive and cannot grow without the host). Virologists have found that patients with long-term SARS-CoV-2 infections can serve as incubators where the virus has time to replicate to high levels and accumulate mutations. Without masks and distancing, viral spread would have been rampant resulting in significantly higher numbers of virus and more long-term infections. Likely outcome: a plethora of SAR-CoV-2 mutants.

Edwards also states that “a large percentage of the population have already been infected.” Large is a vague term; most scientists use real data. To date, about 26,277,125 people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. The U.S. population is 330,058,718, which means that 7.9 percent of the population have been infected. A “large” percentage?

SAR-CoV-2 binds to ACE2, a protein that is very abundant in the intestine, testes, and vas deferens. The SARS-CoV-2-ACE2 interaction in intestines causes diarrhea, but what happens when SAR-CoV-2 binds ACE2 in the testes? We don’t know the short or long-term significance of the virus on these male organs. Perhaps we will someday find that masks and distancing protected many men from infection and preserved our reproductive health. Serendipity or unintended consequence? Get factual information at

Patricia Hartzell


Let go of coattails

As a lifelong Republican (that is, until 2018), I am troubled by the deep partisan political divide in the United States. I ponder with great concern and often, with downright disgust, the direction our republic is headed.

Former President Trump still insists that the 2020 election was rigged, stolen and widely fraudulent even though 50 states certified their respective elector’s votes (after several re-counts in certain states)! Even more disturbing to me is that a large number of Congressional Republicans have been complicit with Trump’s nonstop “I won” proclamations post-election, even to this day. Is this the Republican party you want to lead? Do you really think it is OK to allow extremist groups to hijack the party? This is not the Republican party in which I and my mid-western kinfolk were raised.

On Feb. 1, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke to the nation: “Loony lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican party and our Country.” His remarks were largely directed toward the radical, conspiracy-wielding freshman congresswoman from Georgia. However, McConnell’s words seem very fitting in describing the entire convoluted chain of events and public disinformation effort that began months before Nov. 3; up to and including the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by violent, far-right-wing and white supremacist protesters — thanks to Trump’s “encouraging” remarks fueling and inciting rally goers.

I hope senators vote their heart, based on facts presented, in the second impeachment trial of Trump, putting our nation first and foremost. The insurrection at the Capitol happened under his watch. If he is acquitted, when is there ever any accountability? Donald Trump’s coattails are getting shorter and shorter. Anyone still hanging on to them should consider letting go!

Dan Pierce


Practice what is preached

Recently, I received an “Economic Impact Payment” card. I’m sending it back (via Rep. Russ Fulcher). Here’s why:

1. I don’t need it. The way our government throws money around is irresponsible at best.

2. Government has no place in charity. You do. I do.

3. Taxation, Debt and Inflation. These are the means by which our government will pay for this “economic relief.” All of these weaken the economy, thus hampering economic growth in the long run, and ultimately hurting those the charity would supposedly help.

4. “Economic Impact Payment.” Indeed. Payment for the economic impact of politicians who made lists of jobs they thought were “essential.” who then published these lists, then threatened to fine or imprison anyone whose job didn’t appear on the list, if the individual went outside to do the job.

5. Conservatives like to complain about government control, socialism, etc. But our words are empty, because corporately, if not individually, we constantly seek out and accept government funding in all its various forms, and with it, the stipulations. There is always a catch, and our supposed hate of socialism is also shown to be false, as we continue to place more and more aspects of our lives in the care of the government.

We pretend that Idaho is full of sturdy, independent people. It is. It’s also supported heavily by federal funding. The lifeblood of our local jurisdictions is state and federal grants. We pocket a “relief” check for our business, then in the same breath complain about national debt or the rise of socialism.

There are real needs which demand real solutions. However, our current method is not the answer. We need to practice what we preach.

Isaiah Williams


Letter to Crapo and Risch

As a registered Republican, I did not vote for Donald Trump for a second term as president. After four years, I realized he is a chronic liar, an extreme narcissist and a total racist. He has lied about everything he has told the American people. He is never wrong, never will admit to mistakes and thinks only about himself. He will not denounce white supremacy, the KKK and other extreme racial groups and militia organizations. Anyone who disagrees with him is either discredited or fired. He was not fit for even one term in office.

There is no doubt that Trump was behind the destructive insurrection Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol. He called for a national Trump rally in Washington, D.C., the very time and a short distance from lawmakers doing their constitutional duties. It was clear he gave instructions to his followers to go to the Capitol, still maintaining the unfounded idea that the election was rigged.

You must vote to find him guilty of the charge of impeachment. If not, you are as guilty of wanting to destroy our democracy as he is. It is absurd to stand behind the excuse that he is out of office, the process is mute or a waste of time. If he is not found guilty, he and his followers will be back to destroy our Republican Party and the democracy we stand for.

As U.S. senators, you took an oath to solemnly swear “to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Now is the time to show you have true colors: find Trump guilty. If not, then you are merely a Trump supporter and we, as law abiding citizens, must vote you out.

David Purtee


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