Open Letter on COVID-19

An Open Letter from Shasta County Medical Providers:

COVID-19 has deeply affected the lives of our community and the world. Now, nearly two years later, the pandemic continues to disrupt work, school, the economy, houses of worship, and social lives—not to mention the political division that has surrounded it.

Open scientific discussion is foundational to the advancement of medicine and public health. Most of the scientific advancements start from a skeptical questioning of the prior opinions. Because of this, we are deeply concerned with the absence of objective dialogue between medical practitioners, public health officials, and the public at both the local and national levels in pursuit of effective, evidence-based prevention strategies and early treatment of COVID-19.

The primary focus has been on attempting to minimize the spread of a highly contagious virus. In light of the peer-reviewed data confirming that mass vaccination mandates have not stopped transmission of COVID-19, our collective focus must shift to providing medical advice and early treatment to the public.

As physicians, we strongly encourage:

1) Wide-spread adoption by physicians of the evidence-based early treatment options available. Public Health, in partnership with local physicians and hospitals, should promote and encourage early treatment protocols.

2) Discontinue universal “one-size-fits-all” mandates that have proven to be ineffective and counterproductive. Instead, focus on protecting high-risk individuals through early treatment, appropriate vaccination, and avoiding contact with those who are symptomatic.

Trust is the foundation of doctor-patient relationships, and is essential for public health measures to succeed. Since March of 2020, trust in public health institutions and policymakers has waned due to shifting goals, ineffective recommendations, and neglecting to promote existing early treatments. The public does not know who to trust at this point, and in order for that trust to be rebuilt, medical practitioners, healthcare administrations, and policy makers must collaborate and engage in honest, objective, and scientific discussions with the public.

In order to unite and inform our community, reputable local medical providers from Shasta County, representing over 600 years of medical experience combined, came together and arranged a free public forum on January 22, 2022. The purpose of this non-political forum was for local physicians to share what they have learned during the pandemic through their experience treating patients with COVID-19, discuss evidence-based information on prevention and early treatments of this disease, as well as answer questions from the audience. For those who were unable to attend the forum, the video (4,000+ views to date) is available at www.covid19publicforum.com/watch.

At the conclusion of the forum, a 10-point “Shasta County Healthcare Workers COVID-19 Declaration” (below) was shared to serve as a roadmap for future COVID-19 containment policies.

It is our sincere hope that this can be used as a framework for medical evidence-based decision making and policy setting for Shasta County. We have presented this declaration at both the Shasta County Board of Supervisors meeting and the Redding City Council meeting.

We continue to seek opportunities and venues to come together as a medical community to work towards improving COVID-19 health outcomes and to save the lives of residents of all ages in Shasta County amidst our local response to COVID-19.

With Care and Respect,

Dr. Paul Dhanuka, MD - Internal Medicine & Gastroenterology; Medical Staff Leadership
Dr. Rob Hamilton, MD - Regenerative Medicine, Emergency Medicine
Dr. Amy Keurentjes, DO - Obstetrics & Gynecology, Global Health Leadership PhD
Dr. Richard Malotky, MD - Family Medicine Specialist
Dr. Robert Maurer, MD - Urology
Dr. Doug McConnell, MD - Cardiothoracic Surgery Specialist
Dr. James Mu, MD - Family Medicine Specialist
Dr. Feoktist Orloff, MD - Family Medicine Specialist
Dr. Kathy Reschke, MD - Emergency Medicine Specialist
Dr. Steven N. Struve, MD - Pulmonary, Critical Care
Dr. Craig Traugott, MD - Pediatrics, Neonatology
Dr. Curtis Wong, MD - Plastic Surgery

The above physicians have signed on behalf of 52 medical doctors and 134 healthcare workers (as of March 1, 2022) in Shasta County who concur with the following declaration:

Shasta County Healthcare Workers COVID-19 Declaration

As medical providers and healthcare workers of Shasta County, California, we hold the following beliefs:

  1. COVID-19 is a disease that has massively affected our lives, our family, our economy, our nation and the world.
  2. We believe in the appropriate use of COVID-19 vaccines which may reduce the severity of the disease; however, we do not support COVID-19 vaccine mandates because they do not prevent infection nor transmission.
  3. At this stage in the pandemic, we do not believe in a “one size fits all” approach, and believe the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters need to be tailored appropriately.  COVID-19 vaccines should be encouraged for those who are at higher risk who do not have naturally acquired immunity.
  4. The majority of medical research demonstrates that naturally acquired immunity to COVID-19 is effective and sustained.
  5. There are effective early treatments for COVID-19. The public should be well-informed about these options which should be readily available.
  6. We believe in the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship and the ethical principle of informed consent. Both of these are foundational to the practice of medicine and are undermined by mandates.
  7. We are deeply concerned about the negative physical, psychological, and social impacts of mask and vaccine COVID-19 mandates on children.
  8. We are against mandating mass COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic people because it produces anxiety, disrupts our society, and is not medically necessary.
  9. We believe that open and free scientific discussion is foundational to the advancement of medicine and public health. Medical providers should be able to speak freely and openly about their medical opinions without threat of reprisal by their employer or licensing board.
  10. We believe that no child or adult should be mandated to take a COVID-19 vaccine and/or booster in order to attend school, retain employment, travel, or participate in society.
Medical providers, healthcare workers, or the public who concur with this approach to COVID-19 are welcome to sign the declaration using the link below.
Sign Declaration
The open letter above was submitted to the Record Searchlight on February 14, 2022

Email Updates

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