In response to the May 15 Local View column, “Rules there for a reason; please work with us,” I would like to lay out the following opposing view.

When COVID-19 reports from citizen journalists began coming in from Wuhan, China,in December, it appeared to be a repeat of the Black Plague from the Middle Ages, with people collapsing and dying in the streets, hospitals overfilled with the ill, and mass cremations nightly. Italy appeared to confirm that scenario, and we had to consider a death rate of 10% to 20%, like the Spanish Flu of 1918. This is why the rules stated in the column were implemented.

Since then we know differently that the death rate is not that high, that bodies are not piling up in the streets, that Eric Idle is not outside calling, “Bring out your dead,” and that the curve has not flattened. In fact, the rules and executive mandates now appear to be superfluous and ridiculous. What the column complained about is simply, as Henry David Thoreau called it, “civil disobedience” as a means of peaceful protest.

But the most obvious solution to the column’s complaints is no one shopping at the store described anymore so that its rules are not broken, no one annoys its workers with their conversations, and everyone has plenty of time to clean their hands and work areas (which should have been commonplace before all this started).

Dr. Steven Branch


The writer is a surgeon with a doctorate in microbiology.