Sophia Stoller: COVID-19: Illness arrives in Dushanbe

No corner of the Earth has escaped Covid-19, including Tajikistan. Despite a long denial of the virus’s existence in the country, closing its border and the reality of people dying of “pneumonia,” the COVID-19 virus arrived.

The Tajik government finally admitted the presence of the virus in the country on April 30 and ordered quarantine. It was a very late date with little prior preparation. The government has been unable to meet the needs of the situation. In this vacuum, it has fallen to civil society to take action.

Entrepreneurs are organizing to provide food to doctors, medical staff and patients isolated in hospitals. They are also organizing the production of PPE, which is in short supply, and are raising funds to purchase equipment and other needed medical supplies. There are many huge logistical challenges due to bureaucracy, the geographical isolation of the country, mountainous terrain and the ill-equipped medical and public health system, but these entrepreneurs are creative and determined to help.

Boulder Dushanbe Sister Cities longtime friend Maarouf Mukhammedov and other businesspeople are mobilizing to purchase food, supplies and equipment. They have received over 90 requests from medical institutions all over the country, and have fulfilled 55 of them. Already, “44 frontline doctors have died from COVID-19,” Mukhammedov reports.

We are asking the Boulder community to think of their sister community that sent us the beautiful teahouse and to consider a donation to our young friends’ efforts to help their fellow Tajiks. You can make a tax-deductible donation at the Boulder Dushanbe Sister Cities website, or

Thank you.

Sophia Stoller

Boulder-Dushanbe Sister Cities member


William Dossett: COVID-19: Models are suspect?

Don Wrege, writing in the Camera dated May 27, states that the computer models regarding COVID-19 are wrong. Mr. Wrege quickly goes forward without backing up his statement in any way.

The models are wrong? The models projected 140,000 deaths from the coronavirus by August. As we passed the 100,000 mark Wednesday, this seems quite accurate to me if slightly conservative. Mr. Wrege steams on to ascertain that therefore models on climate change must also be wrong.

If you are building a case, Mr. Wrege, please build it on a base of facts. Facts are that modeling is informative and umm …  based on facts and statistics, unlike your case against models and climate change.

William Dossett


Paul O. Radde: Face masks: Second-hand breath

Words matter. Social distancing is an unfortunate term, because people are trying to get together. The “6 footrule” would be better. That is what you want. Not a seemingly anti-social term.

Does wearing a mask stifle your breathing? Fog your glasses? Get a better-fitting mask. The reason you are wearing a mask is the same reason that smoking was banned from public places years ago.

Second-hand smoke was deadly, consisting of tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide and cyanide gas. It created agas chamber. An effluent of smoking, it created liability for employers. And is gone.

Second-hand breath can be more immediately deadly than second-hand smoke. It creates a virus chamber.You don’t have to wait years. And you have no visible sign (asymptomatic distribution persons) or behavior that the virus is being distributed, unless by sneeze, cough, spit, touch or speaking loudly.

You just don’t know who is a source. The smoker is now the breather. That is why we wear a mask. It’s not about your liberty. It’s about the health of people with whom you come in contact.

Paul O. Radde, Ph.D.



Bob Martin: Bottom Line: Protect yourself if you need protecting

It has been an interesting comparison between Craig Jones and Jane Muhlenbruch-Yee. Considering that thereare “lies, damn lies, and statistics,” I checked the New York State antibody test results to try and verify Craig Jones’ numbers. They seem in the ballpark.

I am bemused by the concept of herd immunity, the “herd” that hangs out at bars is way different from the herd that plays bridge in the afternoons. How is herd immunity relevant in a stratified society?

It is clear that the risk to older people far exceeds the risk to younger people.

A recent Bloomberg Opinion piece by Justin Fox estimated the relative risk of dying from COVID-19 versusthe 2018 flu. Some numbers for the various age groups: 0.55 from 18 through 24, 1.57 from 25 through 34, peaking at 2.13 from 65 through 74. This is surprising, given how hard nursing homes have been hit by COVID-19. It seems that both the flu and COVID-19 kill a lot of seniors. If his facts are correct, there is a basis for considerable discussion about this pandemic as opposed to the standard knee-jerk reaction.

One can understand the desire for younger people to get back to living given their low risk from the disease.

My takeaway, as an older retired person, is that I am ultimately responsible for my own health and safety.You won’t find me in a restaurant 6 feet away from the next customer.  I also believe that it is society’sresponsibility to aggressively protect those at risk who cannot protect themselves — i.e. nursing homes residents — and that employers should be required to take measures to protect employees who sacrifice some of their ability to protect themselves by working.

Bob Martin