Resistance to Public Health Measures

According to news published this morning, the U.S. is reporting its 20th day in a row of more than 100,000 new cases of Covid-19. The country is now averaging over 1,300 Covid-19 deaths per day. As of yesterday, more than 12.2 million people have been infected and 256,783 people have died of the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. And the newest spike coming this winter is expected to be the worst we have faced.

And yet, in the middle of the pandemic, some Americans are resisting public health measures designed to reduce health risks, citing their right to freedom of action under the Constitution. They maintain that a law requiring the wearing of a mask, for example, is unconstitutional because it limits their freedom.

According to that way of thinking, any law restricting unhealthy behavior would be unconstitutional. Worse, refusal to wear a mask is endangering the health not only of the person unmasked but of others. It is profoundly foolish and selfish.

All this is important to me because as an older man with a history of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), if I came down with Covid-19, it would likely prove fatal.

Most Americans, fortunately, are too generous and too respectful of others to take such a stand. If we work together and with the likelihood that a vaccine will soon arrive, we can survive the pandemic. So much is possible if we put the good of others first.

So let’s wear masks, keep six feet from one another, and avoid gatherings. If we work together, we can achieve almost anything.

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