Viewpoints: Good Luck Getting Your Mind Around COVID’s Uncertainties; Pros, Cons Of Reopening To New Kinds Of Normal
Opinion writers weigh in on these pandemic topics and others.
The New York Times:
We Want To Know The Future Of The Coronavirus. Too Bad.
The best prophet, Thomas Hobbes once wrote, is the best guesser. That would seem to be the last word on our capacity to predict the future: We can’t. But it is a truth humans have never been able to accept. People facing immediate danger want to hear an authoritative voice they can draw assurance from; they want to be told what will occur, how they should prepare, and that all will be well. We are not well designed, it seems, to live in uncertainty. Rousseau exaggerated only slightly when he said that when things are truly important, we prefer to be wrong than to believe nothing at all. The history of humanity is the history of impatience. (Mark Lilla, 5/22)
Los Angeles Times:
As We Reopen, Who Do You Allow Into Your Coronavirus Bubble?
I live alone in New York City, and the only human I have had contact with since COVID imprisoned us all in place is my best friend, Herb, who comes over for dinner. We are both older and therefore at risk and quarantine-wise, we are in harmony. We see only one another, we do not go out without masks and, when sheltering in place finally ends, we have the same plan on when to return to movies and restaurants, which is never. But I see a problem ahead. Close friends and I have started discussing Add-Ons, as in: “If you’re not seeing anyone but Herb, and I’m not seeing anyone but my husband, what would be wrong with us meeting in the park and sitting six feet apart and having a sandwich? Or you could come up to my place, wash your hands, sit on the couch and I would make you a cup of coffee. In fact, I could make us dinner. Why not? Nobody is sick here.” (Joyce Walder, 5/22)
The Washington Post:
We Have To Reopen — For Our Health
President Trump’s top priority throughout the covid-19 crisis and his presidency has been protecting the health and well-being of Americans. Nothing exemplifies this leadership like our new Operation Warp Speed, which is marshaling the world’s best minds to develop and deploy a vaccine in record time. The sacrifices Americans have made through social distancing have helped slow the spread of the virus and save lives. Moving forward, we need to confront the misconception that going back to “normal life” just means balancing the health risks of reopening against the economic costs of aggressive social distancing. Returning to normal isn’t about balancing health vs. the economy. It’s about balancing health vs. health: the health risks of covid-19 balanced against the health, social and economic costs of keeping Main Streets across the United States closed for business. (Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex M. Azar, 5/21)
The Wall Street Journal:
The Crucial Reopening Question
If reopening—and staying open—is the goal, the most important question that workplaces, schools, restaurants and retailers should be asking isn’t how to maintain social distancing on their premises. Nor is it how to disinfect workspaces or whether to mandate face masks. The most important question is what they will do when an employee, customer, teacher or student tests positive for Covid-19, and what they will do if that person dies. Thinking clearly about how to handle new infections is critical to building and maintaining public confidence in reopening efforts. If organizations bungle their responses to new infections that occur within their facilities, it will serve as an invitation for political leaders again to engage in the knee-jerk, fear-fueled policy making that led us down the road of ineffectual lockdowns in the first place. (Joseph A. Ladapo, 5/21)
COVID-19 Spreading Quickly Through Psychiatric Hospitals: Reduction Of Population A Must
As our nation faces the historic challenge of COVID-19, the public health risks of confining people in close quarters in jails and prisons have received significant attention. However, much less attention has been paid to the public health risks of confining people in psychiatric hospitals. That must change. We must reduce the population of psychiatric hospitals for the safety and lives of patients, staff, and their families. (Ira Burnim, 5/21)
The New York Times:
Bill Gates Is The Right Tycoon For A Coronavirus Age
“It tires me to talk to rich men,” said Teddy Roosevelt, himself a product of wealth. “You expect a man of millions, the head of a great industry, to be a man worth hearing. But as a rule, they don’t know anything outside their own businesses.” Had T.R. spent time with Bill Gates, the polymath who predicted the pandemic in a TED Talk, he likely would have made an exception. (Timothy Egan, 5/22)