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Wayne D Holt

“We’re spending a tremendous amount of effort trying to keep our visitors safe,” City Manager Brian Maxwell said. Mr. Maxwell, you're in luck. I can help you out of this predicament.

From the New England Journal of Medicine: "We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic." ( READ THAT LAST LINE AGAIN AND LET IT SINK IN).

Well, maybe the NEJM is just a hotbed of Trump craziness, we'd better look to an objective source for better info. How about the BBC News from the UK? "The World Health Organization committee that reviewed the evidence for the use of face coverings in public didn’t back them."

We also know that you are almost 20 times less likely to be infected when outdoors than indoors.

So the question arises: Exactly WHY is this money being spent to protect people who apparently don't need to be protected by the city? Why are you attempting to control the behavior of Americans to the degree the city has? Why does it seem not to matter one single bit to city leaders that the science isn't there, the statistics are misinterpreted and the economy is going over a waterfall while government officials--all-expense paid salaries intact--cheer from the safety of the river bank as if they just did something wonderful?

You are destroying the last 50 years of Galveston's economic progress protecting the public from a threat they do not want your forced assistance with, to a danger that is overhyped by proven scientific research and that you apparently do not even understand. The latest rate of Galveston County fatalities from this virus is 0.000170588 percent of county population.

Exactly what are you trying to accomplish?

Brian Maxwell

Mr. Holt, while you cite article from some time ago, we base our decisions on information from our local Health Authority as well as one of the best medical institutions in the region, that being UTMB who is at the forefront of this disease.

We will continue to follow the governors orders as well as the advice of our esteemed medical community here on the island.

They’ve been here for a long time and I trust they know what’s best for our island. Perhaps I could introduce you to them so you could learn of all they are doing for you and your neighbors. Again, our BSL and their team are some of the foremost experts on this virus.

Thanks,

Brian

Wayne D Holt

Mr. Maxwell, are you or are you not following World Health Organization guidelines? Are you saying the New England Journal of Medicine is not a reliable source for epidemiological information? Do you disagree with Stanford University's conclusions about the spread of the virus? Are you familiar with the studies that document hypoxia as a consequence of extended mask wear? Do you disagree with the 14 randomized studies that concluded there was anecdotal but no statistically relevant advantage to wearing a mask? Can you share with us when the City went from your stated, "(beach closures) were never about protecting the public," to your present position that it's about protecting visitors?

"They’ve been here for a long time and I trust they know what’s best for our island. Perhaps I could introduce you to them so you could learn of all they are doing for you and your neighbors. Again, our BSL and their team are some of the foremost experts on this virus."

I have the world's research available at my fingertips. Perhaps I could introduce you to some of it so you could get a broader, more inclusive and factually diverse sense of what state-of-the-art research is saying about the virus and representation of the virus as a social phenomenon.

There are a lot of holes in the narrative the City has provided both residents and small/medium businesses that have been devastated, not by the virus but by the government's response to the virus. I wish I could feel as sanguine about the decisions that have been made as you appear to be.

Brian Maxwell

We are following the advice of the Galveston County Health Authority and that of UTMB’s leadership team.

You appear to have a difference of opinion with our local experts. Being a relative new Comer to the island I encourage you to reach out and meet them. They are generous with their time and are subject matter experts on COVID and disease management. I personally meet with them three times a week and communicate with them daily.

And yes, I am quite “sanguine” with all of my decisions as they are the result of up to the minute advice of experts and not the result of internet research of various age and authenticity. It is also specific to what is occurring right here where we live vs. averages and what might have occurred or is occurring in lands far far away. Of course most decisions of late were made by Mayor Yarbrough, but I fully support and our local medical experts can affirm all of them.

Would love for you to get more engaged in the local conversation. I know Dr. Raimer briefs the chamber and other groups and Dr. Keiser does as well. I look forward to you being a part of the solution.

Thanks,

Brian

Wayne D Holt

"You appear to have a difference of opinion with our local experts." Actually, no. I present the documented research of some of the most prestigious research institutions from around the world on this topic, and have since March. If the conclusions they come to differ from what you accept, you may want to take it up with them. After all, they are the experts.

"Being a relative new Comer to the island." I've lived downtown for almost 10 years. Is that a newcomer?

"And yes, I am quite “sanguine” with all of my decisions as they are the result of up to the minute advice of experts and not the result of internet research of various age and authenticity." I read the abstracts of the original research or use direct quotes from sources like Time, Newsweek, and similar publications; how do you gather info? And let's be clear here: has anyone at UTMB proclaimed themselves to be "the experts" on Covid-19 or is that a comfortable moniker you have attached to them? Because I would be very skeptical of any representation that the folks doing the top-notch work at UTMB on this are comfortable they are the only ones in the world working at that level. This is a complex and elusive disease and research teams from all around the world are attempting to unlock its secrets in a myriad of ways; the same is true of those doing specialized work on contagion vectors and how best to protect oneself while maintaining a modern commercial society. If officials wish to default to one institution's conclusions--no matter how elevated--they are free to do so. You'll pardon me if I prefer to find out what other researchers of similar prestige and accomplishments have to say on the subject.

"It is also specific to what is occurring right here where we live vs. averages and what might have occurred or is occurring in lands far far away." What is occurring right here, right now where we live is a fatality rate in Galveston County that is one/ten-thousandth of what was predicated as the basis for the demolition of our small/medium businesses, while big box stores with headquarters in lands far, far away were allowed to rake in as much dough as the concentrated crowds in them could drop. I also noticed no public correction from you or the mayor when Councilman Collins published reports that we were "two weeks behind New York City" in infection rates. Was he getting the same advice you were?

"Would love for you to get more engaged in the local conversation." I believe what you want is unanimity of opinion rather than taking advantage of a spectrum of world-class thinking on this topic that is current, relevant and easily accessible. I very much respect what UTMB has to offer on this subject. I just don't share your belief they are the only ones on Planet Earth who have something worthwhile to add to the conversation.

Dlorah Berry

Thank you Brian Maxwell for all you do for our wonderful island!!

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