LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Re: ‘The Paradox of Fall Semester’

To the Editor:

Sun writer Anil Oza quotes from President Martha E. Pollack on the scientific basis for opening Cornell and Andrew V. Lorenzen highlights some important issues with that decision in his column.  On a broader scale, science often involves making a model and testing it. Cornell leadership has, under very difficult circumstances, overseen the development of a COVID-19 model and plan in which the Provost and President strongly believe. As many Cornell students are taught, confidence in a model depends on how well predictions of the model have been tested and supported. The Cornell model has not been tested, but the first test involving all of us is imminent. Maybe the outcome will be in accord with the model (hopefully!) and maybe not.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: RE: ‘The Paradox of Fall Semester’

To the Editor:
In his editorial entitled, ‘The Paradox of the Fall Semester’ Andrew V. Lorenzen presented a thoughtful analysis of the science involved in re-opening Cornell. In particular, he analyzed the assumptions, axioms, postulates, self-evident facts or whatever you want to call them, upon which the model and the analysis were based. This is so rarely done in the use, misuse and abuse of science today. I applaud Mr. Lorenzen for presenting science as it should be presented. In a speech entitled, What is Science?, Richard Feynman said: “As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.

Letter to the Editor: RE: ‘Despite Risk of Over a Thousand Infections, Pollack Reiterates That Reopening is the ‘Best’ Path’

To the Editor:

In a recent article you provide a quotation from President Martha E. Pollack describing what she expects will happen this coming semester: “‘We anticipate finding many hundreds, and probably more than a thousand, of coronavirus cases in the Cornell community over the coming semester,’ Pollack wrote.”

According to the Tompkins County Department of Health, since the pandemic began, our county has had 228 people test positive for the virus and two deaths from the virus. Those two deaths were of non-residents who had been transferred to Tompkins County from the overloaded medical system of the metro-New York City area during the worst of the outbreak there. 228 cases in five and a half months. Now, Pres. Pollack expects more than 1000 infections in a little over three months? Does Pres. Pollack’s predicted 1000 infections “in the Cornell community” mean only among students, faculty and staff of Cornell?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tragedy in Beirut; A Plea for Help

To the Editor:

“We can explain a lot of disasters as natural or random: A forest fire destroying a few homes, an economic recession with a devalued currency, even a global pandemic straining your healthcare system…But 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a chemical bomb, parked at the port of the Lebanese capital for 6 years? Now how can we overlook that?” – Christopher Raffoul, a 22-year-old Beirut resident. In the blink of an eye: Buildings collapsed, cars were thrown into the air and a giant mushroom cloud rose above downtown Beirut, Lebanon. Hospitals were damaged and so overwhelmed by casualties that the wounded were being treated in veterinary clinics, pharmacies and parking lots. Due to this explosion on Tuesday, 330,000 are homeless, 5,000 are wounded and hundreds are likely dead.