By Gene Mallette, Helena
I am disgustingly appalled by the notion that we should keep the names of pandemic victims a big secret! Sure, we need to protect personal discords against our names, reputations and privacies, but to have the name of a positive tested person not appear in the newspaper is a travesty against all health objectives.
Specifically, wouldn’t a positive tested COVID-19 patient want their names in the newspaper to protect those around themselves; and to notify friends of friends and families of friends? I sure would! There is no disgrace in contracting the virus, we would have done nothing wrong. The CDC says that there could be as many as 250,000+ people who have COVID-19 in America, have no symptoms, but can continue to infect other people! Governor Bullock has budgeted $5.1M from the State stimulus money to afford more professionals to contact the victims, and who they’ve contacted, to stop the future spread of the disease. If we are ever to get a handle on this virus before a vaccine is discovered/invented, manufactured and disbursed, we have to have more readily available and immediate information to recognize who the patients are, who they’ve seen, and who those second parties have contacted.
I understand that health care professionals currently follow-up on all positive-tested COVID-19 patients. However, this voluntary system would be more thorough, immediate and complete. I ask that all Montana newspapers, and their affiliated E-commerce notifications, to carry a daily column with the names of any future victims, where they had visited and the names of anyone they had contact with, during the past ten (10) days. Of which all of this would be volunteered by good, patriotic Montanans and Americans.