It Is The Pandemic, Stupid

Mr. Nolan Nelson (no relation) appears to have a theory (Letters, 5/28) that “the state” does not have its citizens’ health in mind when it sets out one-size-fits-most rules based on science in the face of an emergency. It’s not clear what he thinks the real motive is, but perhaps he is sympathetic with those who hope the virus will wait while they sort out their resentments. As a microbiologist who spent most of her career in public health, I never met a microbe that cooperated that readily.

I do remember the hepatitis A outbreaks plaguing Oregon before a vaccine was available. “The state” had to enforce rules of sanitation that inconvenienced everyone, because it only took one clueless or dismissive food handler to send hundreds of men, women and children to clinics for gamma globulin shots. Sorry, but it is a fact that when people use bad judgment as self-styled epidemiologists, they put everyone around them at risk.

Anyone can hold up examples of squirrelly regulations. Clever clickbait. Unfortunately, since we lack the leadership and discipline of countries like New Zealand, we will probably have more opportunities to fine tune closures as this virus goes on about its business. What can you do now? Follow the spirit of the rules by doing your utmost to respect each other’s safety.

Nola Nelson

Cottage Grove