Two columns on the ongoing pandemic. (Links to full columns are embedded in the headlines.)

Take a moderate approach, and tone down the rhetoric, please (Aug. 19): Is it too much to ask everyone to show some patience, moderation, humility, and empathy when it comes to handling the coronavirus?

While rejecting extremes, we should allow some leeway to those who, within a reasonable range, may err too much on either the “overprotection” side of things or the “it’s no big deal” side. We should recognize all of us are trying to muddle through a deadly and deeply unfamiliar situation, and a modest range of reactions is reasonable.

Viruses can produce continuing surprises . They can mutate rapidly , rendering everything we know about them obsolete. That’s why it is reasonable to reject the extremes of those who feign too much certainty but not reasonable to denounce those whose preferred policy responses are modestly more or less restrictive than we ourselves may favor.

So, yes, it is appropriate for those of a more libertarian outlook to reject governments giving widespread “shutdown” orders or other truly severe forms of state-imposed mandates. It is equally suitable for those who see hundreds of thousands of Americans dying to be furious at the “anything goes” crowd who refuse to recognize any communal responsibility at all….

Why the Surgeon General is pushing booster shots (Aug. 22):

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy made sense on several of Sunday’s weekly news shows when he said the time is nearly right for booster shots to be offered to, and recommended for, many already vaccinated Americans.

Responding to critics who say America shouldn’t horde the vaccine by offering the public third doses while hundreds of millions across the globe still have not received a single dose, Murthy said we can do both. “We have to protect American lives , and we have to help vaccinate the world because that is the only way this pandemic ends,” Murthy said on ABC’s This Week…..


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