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Innovation could help quell the spread of coronavirus

Editor, The Beacon:

I am a caregiver to someone who is in the highest-risk category for coronavirus because of her chronic and recurring heart disease. And while we all prepare to self-quarantine, brush up on our hand-washing skills, cancel our group plans and generally lay low, I worry that without biopharmaceutical manufacturers and their ability to innovate, recovery for those in higher-risk categories won’t be successful.

Biopharmaceutical companies are coming together to research current treatment options, come up with vaccines that can be accessed by all, and share valuable information on what is and what could be available.

I know I am not alone when I say I feel relieved that there are solutions to coronavirus being researched even as you read this.

But there are currently measures in Washington that would put a stop to these innovations, that would cut off research and development and, in the long run, put those who need medicines the most at risk of losing their access.

These measures, which would price prescriptions based on what they cost in other countries, could severely limit the ability of biopharmaceutical manufacturers to innovate new treatments and cures.

We must let biopharmaceutical manufacturers do their jobs and create new treatments and cures, not just for coronavirus but for the many illnesses and diseases that require medications, treatments and therapies.

The U.S. must continue to lead in terms of research and development, and we must ensure that everyone has access to their necessary prescriptions. Caregivers and patients everywhere deserve a commonsense approach that puts patients and their health first — and it’s time Congress realized that.

Tifanie Griffith

Orange City

More grateful than ever for retirees

Editor, The Beacon:

In a snap-your-head-back national financial crunch, it’s not a bad situation to have a lot of retirees in town.

Sure, they may be more vulnerable to illness. They may use medical facilities. Yet many of them have a reliable, steady source of income.

Most know with some surety that they’ll have money to spend. Some will have only Social Security. Others will have pension payments, as well.

With most covered by Medicare, there will be money to pay for medical emergencies. After the Great Recession, communities with higher numbers of retirees were more stable and tended to recover faster.

That said, DeLand’s median income is well below that of the average in the nation.

Joan Carter


Congratulations to DeLand

Editor, The Beacon:

Congratulations to DeLand for making the 2020 Top 20 Best Small Towns in the South in the April issue of Southern Living magazine.

Diane Congdon


Florida must act to end threat to bees

Editor, The Beacon:

The threat of colony collapse deserves immediate attention from our state policymakers. Bees are our most important pollinators — hundreds of thousands of plants depend on their pollination. Accordingly, large-scale bee deaths have dire consequences for our environment and global food supply.

Domestic honeybee hives have dropped from 6 million colonies in the 1940s to about 2.5 million today.

Neonicotinoids — or neonics — are a leading suspect in colony collapse disorder. These highly toxic pesticides poison bees’ nervous systems and impact their ability to learn, reproduce and fight infections.

The death of honeybee colonies continues to rise. Last winter, U.S. beekeepers lost nearly 40 percent of their colonies — the worst reported winter hive loss on record. Neonics are between 5,000 and 10,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT.

The most effective way to curb the threat of bee-killing neonics is, quite simply, to limit their use.

Our state should follow the lead of Connecticut, Maryland and Vermont and enact a ban on the consumer sale of neonics.

Thank you!

Jennifer Condo

President, Garden Club of DeLand

Which issue is more relevant to our lives?

Editor, The Beacon:

The former fireman — a lifesaving profession — concerned about the ability of the political structure of our country to forward-plan to protect the lives of its people in a crisis like we are facing with the coronavirus.

The accountant — a backward-looking profession — pointing out that in his opinion a political party, apparently not his, by narrowing remaining candidates for party nomination to two white males, has not achieved the diversity objective he believes they set for themselves.

Both issues — but which is more immediately relevant to our daily lives?

Jay Keller