News + Record readers sound off: Masking, mandates and more


The News + Record invited readers through its Chatham Brew newsletter to share thoughts about vaccines, masks and mandates. Here are the responses:

"I welcomed the vaccine as a key defensive strategy to contain and control the COVID-19 virus. Vaccines have been central in the elimination of fearful afflictions in my memory. For example, polio and smallpox. Vaccines are not 100 percent safe and some have reactions to components within the vaccine. What is key is the evaluation and understanding of risk to benefit. It is apparent that many do not use this analysis to make wise decisions.

Much of the discussion is centered around freedom — the freedom of the individual. However, the U.S. military soldier’s creed talks about freedom, not of the individual but of the nation, and defending the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. The freedom is not for the individual but for our nation, our community, our neighbors. It isn’t about individual freedom but our collective freedom.

The virus is an evil entity — and needs to be viewed as a serious threat. In the simplest terms one opposes the virus by reducing its ability to spread and proliferate. When one chooses to not participate in the defense against the virus this is equivalent to giving the enemy assistance and promoting the proliferation of the enemy. In simple terms one is either part of the solution or part of the problem.

Some are reinforcing their abetting of the virus from their religious beliefs. They are waiting for a message and not getting one. Christian teachings are very clear about taking care of your neighbor as the Good Samaritan.

As a scientist I am baffled by the opposition to practices that reduce the probability of the virus to proliferate. Holding and judging those practices in contempt because they are not 100% or perfect is seriously flawed thinking. Our immune systems are complex and varied with the response to the COVID virus from no reaction to death.

I’m not one for mandates in general, but when the nation is threatened and our neighbors are dying from a virus, how can one be for the virus?"

Keith McLaurin, Siler City

“I am a mature 54-year-old woman with Type 2 diabetes and I am AFRAID!!! I had thought the crisis was past and re-enrolled in the Bachelor’s of Social Work Program at N.C. State after a year’s hiatus. NCSU has a mask mandate, self-reporting and requires either proof of vaccination or weekly testing. These are not enough! I have one class that requires us to meet in person; the rest are being done remotely. I dread the two days per week that I must go to campus.

My fellow students, in general, seem to take the mask mandate pretty casually. I often see students with their mask on their chin who, upon noticing they are observed, quickly and sloppily raise it to barely cover their nose. I wear not only a mask but a full face shield and still I carefully wash my hands before removing either. I live with two older adults and fear for their safety as well as my own. PLEASE require vaccinations!!!”

Sharon Hartwell, Pittsboro

“I’m a long-time conservative but believe the “anti” or “not me” vaccination crowd is way off base on this issue. I consider getting this shot a civic duty and believe their ‘constitutional rights’ end when their actions (or lack thereof) put others at risk.

The medical and scientific evidence is clear. As Ron White says, “You can’t fix stupid,” but it is amazing how Facebook, the internet, and blind political allegiance has made a large portion of America dumb as hell.”

David S. (Steve) Heesacker, Chapel Hill


“I will receive a booster later this month. I am immunocompromised. If vaccine effectiveness weakens over time — my body needs a boost more than most. My physician recommended that I receive the booster. He has already received his booster due to personal health conditions. I have had to fight FOR my health for as long as I can remember. For those who have never had to fight FOR their health — I can imagine that the unknown is uncomfortable. This is about as uncomfortable as it gets. I hope that people will choose to fight for their health.”

Kimrey W. Rhinehardt, Pittsboro


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