Advice for Second-Home Owners
To the editor:
The Wellfleet Seasonal Residents Assoc. (formerly Wellfleet Nonresident Taxpayers Assoc.) has been keeping members apprised of the effect of the coronavirus on the Outer Cape. I am president of WSRA; the views here are my own.
Those who are thinking of going to their second homes should consider this: people coming from off Cape, even if they feel well, could be healthy carriers of the virus and spread it to others who help them open their homes, turn on their water, or pass them too closely at the grocery. Many full-time residents on the Cape are older, with pre-existing conditions that make them more vulnerable.
Most important, health resources on the Cape are limited. Cape Cod Hospital has only 24 I.C.U. beds. A New York Times story posted Monday quoted the Provincetown Select Board’s Lise King: “If you come here and fall ill you are taking a risk that we won’t have the capacity to help you.”
Overstretching health resources on the Cape affects people with other life-threatening ills. The health services are experiencing the same shortages as other hospitals across the nation, with fewer resources.
In “real life,” I am a medical historian. All epidemics are different, and comparisons to the 1918-19 flu pandemic have limits. Yet we do know from carefully analyzed data of that event what made a difference: those communities that closed down had many fewer deaths.
Please consider all this if you are thinking of coming down to your second home. I also understand the meaning of “home” and how many of us feel about this special place on Earth. But right now, public health measures matter.
Susan M. Reverby
Boston and Wellfleet
To the editor:
Thanks to Dennis Minsky for his thoughtful reflections in “Deep Time and This Day” (March 19) on our obligations to the future.
At the best of times, when we aren’t facing the immediate threat of a global health crisis, it may seem impractical to think about long-horizon time. But it’s hardly absurd to plan for a viable future for generations not yet born.
We often plan for benefits that might accrue after we’re gone. Architects of great cathedrals understood they would never see their visions realized and that future generations would reap the benefits. Anyone with a retirement or life insurance plan knows that, while the future is unknown, it makes sense to save. We’re actually quite good at long-term thinking.
Yet we continue to rip off future generations by knowingly using technologies like fossil fuels that diminish those futures. Is it just lip service to plan for our kids’ better tomorrows? Is that too radical?
The writer is founder of Broto: Art–Climate–Science.
Renewing for Life
To the editor:
Two root systems of community for this 12th-generation Eastham woman, living alone among her locust trees, with her birds, books, squirrels, and view of Great Pond: WOMR and the Independent.
Listening to the voice and spirit of Cape Cod: Robert Johnson, sitting in Carol Courneen’s seat this morning, is dishing out heart food in what Jay Critchley in the paper calls these “evanescent moments.”
I’ve barely turned the radio off. Yesterday, Bob Weiser already had me with Eliza Gilkyson and Bruce Cockburn before he put on Leonard Cohen’s “Everybody Knows”: “Everybody knows the boat is leaking; everybody knows the captain lied.”
My thanks and love also to the crew of the Independent. I canceled my subscription to the New Yorker to save money, and because after reading each new issue of the local paper, I was getting too far behind on New Yorkers. Not the same, but chock-a-block with familiar, informed, entertaining voices.
When the rain stops I’ll be heading out with my loppers after reading about pruning. And as you create beautiful modular space for your growing circulation with Peter McMahon’s insights, you can renew my subscription for life.