Letter to the Editor: A Response to Kiessling Letter Opposing Masks

Submitted by Astrid Kruse, DVM (“licensed to treat all species except for one”)

Dr. Kiessling is wrong. [Opinion Editor’s Note: Kiessling holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Biophysics.] Again. The COVID pandemic in Bedford is not “over”. Despite common misperception, Bedford is not a little magical island separated from the rest of humankind. Neither COVID vaccination nor COVID infection induces perfect, long term immunity.  Humans are unable to keep their infected respiratory orifices from spewing germs at each other. All these factors have led to continued spread of this virus, infection and re-infection, and mutation to more contagious strains.

Perhaps she meant to say that COVID is becoming endemic and we shouldn’t care? In Dr. Kiessling’s continued crusade against mask wearing, the message is clear- that we should not bear any minor inconvenience to protect ourselves and we definitely shouldn’t make the effort to protect those that are most vulnerable around us- babies, cancer patients, people with autoimmune conditions, the obese, the elderly. Ironically this goes directly against the Bedford Board of Health’s stated values- “Decision making priority is given to town/community needs vs. individual needs.”

COVID isn’t over. We are just starting to see a reduction in transmission in our area, but transmission rates have not reached a low level. Bedford will have more cases, more illness (you can be pretty darn sick and not be hospitalized- a week sick, unpaid, with a bunch of sick kids? no thanks), more hospitalizations, and some more deaths (but perhaps we should only care if it affects someone we know and like?).

When I have a problem with a toilet, I call a plumber. When my car makes weird sounds, I consult with a mechanic. When I want good information on a public health crisis, I see what medical doctors, epidemiologists, and trained professional public health experts recommend- vaccination, mask wearing until transmission levels are low (fewer than 50 cases/100k, less than 8% positivity rate in a county, not town.) If I need stem cell information I’ll reach out to Dr. Kiessling.


  1. Well stated, Dr. Kruse- cases are flatlining or increasing across Mass, and we have not even hit the coldest weather or the holiday season. WHO is warning the rest of the world to take note of the sky-rocketing cases in Europe (again) as a foreshadowing for what winter can bring. Bedford’s cases per 100k are less than half of what neighboring towns without mask mandates, such as Burlington and Billerica, are seeing. I get that folks are tired and frustrated, this whole situation stinks, but a little extra precaution now will make things a lot better for everyone in the long run.

  2. Bedford in not isolated, so when Dr. Keissling wanted to declare that we didn’t need masks, she ignored the fact that people and air move between towns.

  3. This “we are not in an Island” excuse is nonsense. No town is on an island. Tell that to Burlington or Woburn who see 10X the activity Bedford does. Mask wearing is no longer a “minor” Inconvenience . Covid isnt over, nor is the Flu or the other 100s of viruses out there. Wear a mask if you choose or not, Ill do the same.

  4. Thank you, Dr. Kruse. I wanted to respond to Dr. Kiessling in the same vein, but don’t have the credentials. It is hard to maintain vigilance with so much opposition. Non-maskers stare at me as if I have two heads, instead of just one wearing a mask to also protect THEM.

  5. Kudos to the author! Have we become so selfish that we ignore the needs of others? Does a small piece of fabric on your face cause you problems? Are some of us that spoiled?

    From what I hear on the news COVID-19 numbers are increasing. We will never be rid of the virus until we all listen to our doctors and scientists.

  6. This is an example of a purely hyperbolic response. There is no data. No supporting documentation. This reads more like an attempt at humor than anything else. The opening salvo should tell you all you need to know about it’s contents

  7. Spot on! As the weather turns colder, we will all be spending more time indoors, sharing the same air. My mask protects you, your mask protects me.

    Mask wearing during a pandemic of an airborne disease isn’t a personal choice. My mask by itself isn’t going to protect me all that much, but if everyone in the room is wearing their mask, the amount of COVID-19 particles in the air will be reduced.

    A single person unknowingly infected choosing not to wear a mask puts everyone else at greater risk.

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