by Frank Schnittger
Thu Mar 19th, 2020 at 11:58:56 AM EST
Letter to the Editor
If I were charged with murder (and guilty as hell) I would hire your columnist, Newton Emerson, as my defence attorney. Based on his article "Sectarian split over school closures feels ominous", Opinion, 19 March, he would have even me believing in my innocence.
The whole point of the WHO (and now belatedly, the UK) expert advice is that the infection rate will increase exponentially until herd immunity is achieved unless there are radical interventions on the part of governments and peoples.
The further one is up that exponential curve, the more difficult it becomes to isolate and control the rate of infection. Exponentially more difficult. So days and even hours matter, and two weeks is an age.
There is , in any case, no evidence to support Newton's assertion that N. Ireland and the UK are two weeks behind Ireland in the course of this pandemic.
To try to cast those who sounded the alarm when they realised how serious this was all getting as engaging in sectarian politics is itself sectarian politics of the most crass kind almost equivalent to accusing Jews of alarmism and racism when they warned of Nazi atrocities.
Globally there could indeed be millions of casualties - and thousands in Ireland - before this is all over, and then those who delayed and procrastinated over essential measures will indeed be in the dock. Guilty as charged, I'm afraid.