This letter to the editor was submitted to LebTown. Read our submission policy here.

To the people of Lebanon County,

Trust the science.

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On Tuesday, May 12, Dr. Anthony Fauci completed his testimony before the Senate. On Monday, May 11, Dr. Fauci previewed his testimony to Sheryl Gay Stolberg of the New York Times late Monday night.

The major message that I wish to convey to the Senate HLP committee tomorrow is the danger of trying to open the country prematurely. If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to: ‘Open America Again,’ then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.

Trust the rule of law.

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Several local politicians, all Republicans, said they were going to defy Governor Wolf’s order. They plan to move Lebanon County into the “yellow” phase by Friday, May 15. The politicians are:

  • State Senator Dave Arnold, former District Attorney for Lebanon County
  • Representative Russ Diamond
  • Representative Frank Ryan
  • Representative Sue Helm
  • County Commissioner Bill Ames
  • County Commissioner Bob Phillips
  • District Attorney Pier Hess Graf
  • Coroner Jeffrey Yocum
  • Sheriff Bruce Klinger

Furthermore, District Attorney Hess Graf stated she will not prosecute any business that opened early.

All of the above politicians are telling you to break the law. This is particularly troubling because two of them were and are district attorneys and all of them have taken an oath to uphold the rule of law. If these local politicians question Gov. Tom Wolf’s judgement on how to keep us safe during the pandemic, our society provides a remedy – take the matter to court. To declare that Lebanon, Lancaster, and Schuylkill Counties are “yellow zones” by fiat, is to place themselves above the rule of law. It also puts at risk those who heed them, since liquor and other licenses are issued by the Commonwealth. Furthermore, these businesses could be exposed to legal jeopardy, since opening up before the governor lifts the ban creates a disease vector threatening the health of the community. Trust the rule of law.

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Trust the science. COVID-19 is no respecter of political party or economic ideology. COVID-19 does not care that some local politicians have chosen to politicize a pandemic in order to maintain majorities in the state legislature. COVID-19 does not care that this lone citizen writes this letter in support of science.

COVID-19 does one thing – infects people through person to person contact. There is no immunity, there is no vaccine.

COVID-19 is in the White House; COVID-19 is in the Kremlin.

COVID-19 has crossed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; COVID-19 has crossed the Snitz Creek.

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Dr. Fauci said:

I think we’re going in the right direction, but the right direction does not mean we have by any means total control of this outbreak.

He urged states to follow health experts’ recommendations to wait for signs including a declining number of new infections before reopening.

Trust the science.

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Rev. Timothy Dewald is a Cleona resident and pastor emeritus of Hill United Church of Christ, where he served as minister from 1978 to 2001. He is a current assistant professor of mathematics at Lebanon Valley College, where he has taught since 1989.

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