To our neighbor with the lawn sign reading “Unmask our kids:”
I applaud your courage in placing a sign with a controversial message on your front lawn. However, I deplore your message.
We all want our kids to go back to the classroom, but we are still in the middle of a pandemic. If we have any hope of keeping our teachers and our kids safe, the wearing of masks is a low-tech tool that will accomplish just that.
We all wish the pandemic was over, and that mask-wearing would no longer be necessary. But, that’s not the reality.
In Florida, the Hillsborough County Public School district reported on Aug. 18, one week into its school year, there were over 1,800 COVID-19 cases among students and staff, and 10,000 students and staff members have been isolated or quarantined. In this Florida school district, which has more than 213,000 students, masks have been required for the children, but parents can opt out, and over 28,000 parents have done so.
Let’s be smarter than Florida. Let the kids wear their masks and get back to the classrooms!
Jill Harris, Summit
Broaden vaccine mandates at nursing homes
After hearing the news about a federal nursing-home vaccine mandate, I felt compelled to send this letter.
President Joe Biden announced that if staff members do not get COVID-19 vaccinations, the facilities could lose their Medicaid/Medicaid funding. I am a nurse currently employed by a New Jersey nursing home. I am vaccinated and absolutely agree with this mandate.
I would like the following question addressed, though: Why aren’t patients and visitors at these care homes subject to the same mandate? Our safety as employees matters, too.
If a visitor can bring coronavirus to a resident who is not vaccinated, I can then contract it from that resident. Why is this OK? Someone needs to address health care workers’ safety.
Donna Mount, Great Meadows
Reduce incentives to prescribe opioid painkillers
Last week, Spencer Kent wrote a thought-provoking article (“The lost generation”) on the opioid crisis in New Jersey. The piece details the tragic deaths of two young men who became addicted to heroin after being prescribed opioids following a medical procedure – a part of the “lost generation” of young people cut down by addiction.
Every year, 3.75 million patients go on to long-term opioid use after surgery. Unfortunately, opioids are the standard of care to treat postoperative pain – and they set unknowing New Jerseyans onto a dangerous path from which many never return.
However, there are alternatives. Non-opioid treatments offer safe and effective pain management and can have better clinical outcomes. Despite this, many hospitals do not offer the option of non-opioid treatment because federal reimbursements for alternatives such as relaxation therapy, chiropractic care and non-opioid medicine are too low.
Fortunately, this issue has gained the attention of federal lawmakers. The Non-Opioids Prevent Addiction in the Nation (NOPAIN) Act, reintroduced in Congress this spring, aims to increase patient and provider access to effective non-opioid pain management options.
These treatments can stop opioid addiction even before it begins. I urge Congress and U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, both D-N.J., to support the NOPAIN Act (S-586.) The health of New Jersey and the entire United States depends on it.
Denise Mariano, Roxbury
Note: The writer is director of family support and advocacy for the Partnership to End Addiction.
Reduce price of prescription drugs
The price of prescription drugs is unbearable and could bankrupt even millionaires. The pricing structure is out of control and getting worse, making life-saving pharmaceuticals unavailable to so many people. This is “cruel and unusual,” based on the standards of other wealthy nations.
Alphonso Johnson, Newark
How can I get my house taxed like Fulop’s?
I have comments on your recent article, “(Jersey City Mayor Steve) Fulop buys new home on same block as old one — for $2.4 million.”
The article states that the property taxes on this home were $17,497 in 2020. A previous owner, former New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh, was reportedly renting out the home for $11,000 per month.
I was under the impression that Jersey City recently (2018) underwent a revaluation of residential property values for real estate tax purposes. My annual taxes on my more modest home in Clark Township, Union County, are about $14,000.
I estimate, based on Fulop’s $2.4 million home’s taxes, that my annual taxes would be about $3,500 if my home were located in Jersey City.
Am I missing something? How much state aid goes to Jersey City relative to Clark and other small communities in New Jersey?
Bob Barrett, Clark
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