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Letter: On Long Island, take the measles threat seriously

Reader letters to Newsday for Wednesday, April 17, 2019.

Nurses wait for patients at the Rockland County

Nurses wait for patients at the Rockland County Health Department in Haverstraw, Rockland County on April 6. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Joannes Eisele

Fortunately, as of mid-April, reports indicate no cases of measles in Nassau County. However, well more than 400 cases have been reported nationwide, including many in Rockland and Orange counties and in New York City. Nassau County officials are appropriately taking this health risk seriously. Upcoming holidays and school breaks mean families will gather and go on vacations. The potential for exposure will increase significantly.

The April 12 news story “Nassau: Vaccinate children for measles” relates that parents, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control, should have children given the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine to protect from the measles virus unless a valid medical reason exists. As a Nassau County pediatrician and part of Allied Physicians Group, an organization that sees thousands of patients each week, I am very concerned about the outbreak and the risk of exposure for my patients, their families and the public to this disease.

My colleagues and I believe strongly in vaccinating children as part of overall health and well-being. Health care providers must educate parents about the facts and risks children face when they choose not to vaccinate.

An individual with measles is contagious up to four days before the rash begins, and the virus can live in the air for two hours. Early symptoms are hard to distinguish from those of the common cold. Pneumonia and encephalitis, which is brain swelling that can cause brain damage, also may be caused by measles. The disease can cause ear infections that can lead to permanent deafness. Pregnant women also are at greater risk of having premature or low-birth-weight babies if they contract the disease. We must take this outbreak seriously.

Dr. Daniel C. Camillery,

Franklin Square

Demand for Trump returns is nonsense

I don’t understand why some Democrats are making such an issue of the president not releasing his tax returns. He is under no obligation to release them, and breaks no law by not doing so [“Trump’s returns really do matter,” Editorial, April 15]. I believe he has the best accountants prepare his returns. Enough of the nonsense already, I have never seen such disparity between our two main political parties, and it is ridiculous. Shame on Democrats.

Wayne Mortak,

West Babylon

The effects of the new tax law

I always wonder why people expecting an income-tax refund are happy, and those who must pay are not [“Learning curve for new tax law,” News, April 15].

Those getting a refund are simply being repaid for the no-interest loan they gave the government in the previous year. Those who must write a check are paying the IRS or state for a loan they received.

Kind of reminds you of Christmas club accounts at banks. Deposit a fixed amount in your account each week and in mid-December, the bank will send you a check for the full amount. Thankfully, then-state Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz demanded that banks pay interest. The result, fewer Christmas club promotions.

Tom Focone,

Stony Brook

I am self-employed as an actor and teacher of Shakespeare. Now that none of my legitimate personal expenses are allowed as deductions — including union dues, commissions to agents or managers, and costs for promotional purposes — I find that although I earned less money in 2018, I am paying more than $400 more in taxes. I am one of many people who are not wealthy enough to benefit from President Donald Trump’s supposed tax reform.

Despite his boasts of universal tax relief, we are seeing clearly that the relief most benefits those who financially need it least, while hitting hardest those who rely on earned income to make a living.

“This is the time that the unjust man doth thrive,” as Shakespeare said.

Elizabeth Shepherd,

Manhattan

Talk about burying the lead. I had to wade through a lot of noise in your article on the impact of the new tax law before I read “about 80 percent of filers paid less in federal taxes in 2018.”

That’s the story. The size of refunds is meaningless; total taxes paid should be your focus.

John McKeown,

Massapequa Park

 

I have read that many taxpayers are upset about their diminished income-tax refunds, or even worse, found that they owed money.

I think these people need to take personal accountability for not preparing for the new tax law. First, a refund is just that, a return of money you lent the government interest free for a year. So what if it’s less; that probably means you had more money in your paycheck throughout 2018. If your overall tax bill is less than last year, that’s really all that matters. If you didn’t save your extra pay all year long, that’s on you.

Rafe Garet,

West Babylon

 

Why use Social Security card for ID?

After reading “In the fast lane at the local DMV” [Opinion, April 14], I would like to remind the Department of Motor Vehicles that my Social Security Card says on it, “Not for identification.” So why do they require it?

Thomas Nasca,

Blue Point

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