To the editor:
(re: “Dinowitz not paying attention,” Aug. 27)
Thank you, David Epstein, for your note expressing opposition to my suggestion that we operate schools remotely until there are adequate protections in place for students, teachers, staff members and their families. Respectfully, I think that my position is, in fact, shared by numerous families in Riverdale, including the families of educators as well as students.
The vast majority of people disagree with you, and do not support the unnecessary deaths of their loved ones.
I am glad you drew the comparison between this issue of COVID-19 school reopenings and my successful effort to end all non-medical exemptions to school vaccine requirements (which was nearly unanimously supported by the public, including majorities of both major political parties and independents).
The key word in your note to me is “supposed” because I think it highlights the chasm that underpins our disagreement. I believe that viruses, such as the one that causes COVID-19, are dangerous because they have killed nearly 200,000 people across the United States. Others believe that their “supposed” individual liberty gives them the right to ignore science and put other people at risk of infection.
The same logic applies here as it did with the vaccine issue last year: Nobody has the right to get other people sick.
I have never once professed myself as a medical expert, but the overwhelming consensus of public health officials, scientists and doctors is that COVID-19 (and preventable diseases like measles) are dangerous to the health of children as well as adults.
Vaccines are safe and effective, and COVID-19 is dangerous. If you don’t want to believe that, that’s your prerogative. But it doesn’t change the reality. Or the facts.
The author is the Assemblyman representing the 81st district, which includes Riverdale, Kingsbridge, Van Cortlandt Village, Kingsbridge Heights and Marble Hill.