Daily COVID-19 death tally in Illinois fails to account for other health and economics costs

I had root canal surgery. Then my endodontist’s office was closed. Unsurprisingly, my tooth cracked and became infected.

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Demonstrators in Chicago on May 1 protest restrictions imposed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Scott Olson/Getty

I had root canal surgery on March 17, just before Gov. J.B. Pritzker shut down the state. My endodontist filled it with a temporary filling and told me to come back in two weeks.

Then his office, because of the pandemic, was shut down for more than a month. Unsurprisingly, my tooth cracked and became infected.

The pain was excruciating — far worse than I had experienced in childbirth or surgery — so I returned yesterday and was immediately scheduled for an emergency extraction by an oral surgeon. He had to put me under with anesthesia, so I’m now down $5,000 and a tooth. 

My point? The extreme shutdown the governor has instituted has very real health and economic costs that aren’t tabulated as part of the daily COVID-19 death count. We, as a state, need to start taking these costs into account as we plan our future.

Paula McQuade, South Loop

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Collar counties faring better

I read a recent Sun-Times article about politicians in the suburbs pushing to reopen sooner than the city of Chicago. While the statistics you reported — 4,014 new COVID-19 cases in the state on Tuesday, and 192 deaths on Wednesday — were accurate, you left out some vital facts.

More than 29,000 tests were performed on Tuesday, a record. That works out to a 13.7% positive test rate, which is much lower than the rates — in the low 20s — three or four weeks ago. You might also have mentioned that many of the collar counties have had testing rates consistently below the 20% benchmark that Gov. J.B. Pritzker set for moving to the next phase of reopening their economies, and that Cook County’s numbers have inflated the total for all of the state’s northeast zone.

Jeff Laitar, Downers Grove

Make clean water more affordable

At a time when washing your hands can literally help save your life, we must ensure that everybody everywhere has easy access to clean water in the home.

That’s why I applaud a resolution introduced by Chicago Ald. Gilbert Villegas that calls on the federal government to provide funding for a national water affordability program. I encourage the full City Council to pass the resolution at its next meeting.

Quite simply, access to clean water is a right and that access should not be impacted by where a person lives, their income or their race.

The federal government already provides funding to low-income residents for gas and electric heating and should be following the same protocol to supply a steady access to clean water.

Just try to imagine that, during this pandemic, you couldn’t trust what comes out of your faucet. Or worse, that nothing comes out at all.

The bottom line is that the funding called for in this resolution will increase the availability of clean water in Chicago for the low-income residents who need it most, not just during the COVID-19 pandemic, but after the pandemic has passed. And it benefits us all when our neighbors have clean water to drink and are able to practice good hygiene. 

Washington must act, and quickly, to enact this funding program.

Mariyana Spyropoulos
Commissioner and former president
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

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