It is time for public health officials to start naming names for the greater good

| May 15, 2020 9:31 AM

To the editor:

I am disgustingly appalled by the notion that we should keep the names of the victim’s of the pandemic a big secret. Sure, we need to protect personal discords against our names, reputations and privacies, but to have the name of a positive tested person not appear in the newspaper is a travesty against all health objectives.

Specifically, wouldn’t a positive tested COVID-19 patient want their names in the newspaper to protect those around themselves and serve to notify friends of friends and families of friends? I sure would.

There is no disgrace in contracting the virus. We would have done nothing wrong. The Centers for Disease Control says that there could be as many as 250,000 people who have COVID-19 in America that have no symptoms, but can infect other people.

Gov. Steve Bullock has budgeted a portion of state stimulus money to allow more professionals to contact victims, and those they’ve contacted, to stop the future spread of the disease. If we are ever to get a handle on this virus before a vaccine is discovered, invented, manufactured and disbursed, we need more readily available and immediate information. We must identify and contact patients, those they’ve seen and all second party contacts.

I understand that healthcare professionals currently follow-up on all COVID-19 patients. However, this voluntary system could be more thorough, immediate and complete.

I ask that all Montana newspapers carry a daily column with the names of any future victims, the places they had visited and the names of anyone they had contact with during the previous 10 days. All of this information would be volunteered by good, patriotic Montanans and Americans.

Gene Mallette

Helena