Letters to the Editor, Feb. 1, 2019

Measles; Inslee

End exemptions

On Jan. 25, Gov. Jay Inslee declared a statewide state of emergency due to the current outbreak of measles, which is highly contagious and potentially deadly. Almost all cases are unvaccinated children.

California removed all non-medical exemptions from its vaccination requirements in 2015. But Washington still allows religious and personal exemptions.

As a result, Washington has one of the worst vaccination rates in the country. In the Issaquah School District, there were 773 students in the 2017-18 school year who were not completely vaccinated. Is your child sitting next to one of them in class? Or on the bus?

Some ask, “My kid is vaccinated, so why worry?” Because no vaccine is perfect. The measles vaccine is very effective, which is why unvaccinated children are 35 times more likely to contract measles. But it’s “only” 95-98 percent effective. And exposure to infected kids occurs in schools long before the disease is diagnosed. So if a child with measles enters a classroom, the odds are good that another student will become infected.

Contact your legislators and demand that all non-medical exemptions (both personal and religious) be eliminated.

Matthew Barry


Climate change will get spotlight

Gov. Jay Inslee appears ready to announce his 2020 presidential run. Considering the size of the Democratic field the odds for him to win the nomination are slim. Nonetheless I applaud his (anticipated) candidacy for one reason – his message of climate change.

There are many critical issues that face us today each with their unique dimension of peril. But there is nothing that will come close to the gut punch of climate change (except possibly World War III). It is like a Category 5 hurricane is bearing down on us, but it is still hundreds of miles away. The first hint of roughening seas under the still balmy skies feels like fun. A hurricane? Says who? Let’s hit the surf.

But not everyone is blind, especially not the young. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old from Sweden is a prime example. Her message to the elites meeting at Davos hits hard: “Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act.” So true.

This brings me back to Inslee. Whether he wins the nomination or not, his candidacy is bound to have one major impact: it will inject climate change as a top issue in 2020. It is way past time.

Sankar Ray