CHARLIE SENA, San Clemente

This note is in support of our government leaders who are doing the best they can, having been faced with an unprecedented pandemic, no “rule book” to follow, and various constituencies with conflicting needs.

 Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to shut down the economy was gutsy, strategic and risky politically. It was the right thing to do at that time, and “flattened the curve.”  It was recently just as important to begin opening up the economy. According to a recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California, about 70% of California adults were in favor of keeping current restrictions in place. 

What is “freedom” in this pandemic? Is it the freedom to open one’s business, and make a living? Absolutely, assuming that sensible precautions are taken to make it safe. But are those not infected with COVID-19 enjoying freedom when forced in close contact with others who could be infected, yet who disrespect social distancing and refuse to wear a mask? Certainly not.

Since 35% of those with the virus don’t realize they are carrying it (according to the Centers for Disease Control’s best estimate), when they refuse to wear masks in public, they are passing it on.

Peggy Noonan—the distinguished speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan—said it best in a recent Wall Street Journal article.

“We have to cooperate by doing the things that contain the illness so that businesses can stay open and functioning. A mask isn’t a sign of submission. . . . It’s a sign of respect, responsibility and economic encouragement. It says, ‘I’ll do my small part.’ ”

Recently, I have seen large crowds at certain indoor establishments; almost no one was wearing a mask, and there was no social distancing. If this sort of reckless conduct continues, there will almost certainly be a “second wave”—potentially far worse than the first. What would that do to our economy and freedom?

Consider that nothing has yet changed: (1) there is no COVID-19 vaccine; (2) there is no cure; and (3) unlike past viruses, many carrying it are asymptomatic.

We must get moving quickly in a safe and responsible manner. Changes in our daily routines are required. Wear a mask. Respect your neighbors—and your own health.

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