I’m a health care worker: We’re close to breaking

We in northwest Wisconsin have been fortunate to have been spared the greatest impact as COVID-19 sweeps the country. But as a retired physician, I know we are not immune.

Wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance are vital in preventing the spread of COVID-19 to our families, our friends, our neighbors and our community. These measures can help prevent spread to the doctors, nurses and other health care workers we will need to take care of us if we get sick.

Dr. Bradley Dreifuss, an emergency medicine physician in Tucson, Ariz., puts it best (New York Times, June 26):

“I get angry when I see people refuse to wear a mask or physically distance from others or stay home when they could because it is inconvenient — or as a political statement. If you do not wear a mask and physically distance, you are putting yourself and others in harm’s way. You are putting us in harm’s way. Then you will expect us to risk our lives to save you. And it’s not just we whom you ask to risk our lives, but our families as well. What you are saying to people like me and my team is, ‘Your life and the lives of your loved ones do not matter to us; you are disposable.’

“I am willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the public. I took an oath to that effect when I became a physician. But the public has to sacrifice some too if we want to get through this as safely as possible — social scientists call this ‘health citizenship.’ ... And yes, it means wearing a mask, staying home when possible and practicing physical distancing so that our hospitals and care facilities are not swamped and we are not overwhelmed.”

Dr. Maury Pasternack

Eau Claire

Floyd shouldn’t be made into a martyr

Justice may be served by punishing former police officer Derek Chauvin but it is not served by making a martyr of George Floyd. He was not a good man unfairly arrested and killed by police brutality. He was arrested for attempting to commit a crime.

Floyd died with fentanyl and methamphetamine in his blood. He had been arrested and jailed for possessing and using cocaine. He had been jailed for five years for holding a young woman hostage while his gang looted the house. The list goes on and on.

I compare this incident to certain combat situations I experienced. No need to go into detail because if you were in combat, you need no explanation. If you were never in combat, no explanation would suffice. I did things and saw things that now, 70 years later, I can’t believe really happened. But we did things that we had to, to stay alive. The officer did what he felt he had to, to do his job. Did he go too far? Obviously.

Birney Dibble

Eau Claire