Reader's View: Those not susceptible need to get back to work

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Medical-school student Kaleigh Nelles is apparently frustrated and appalled at those of us calling for “returning to normalcy.” Nelles wrote a “Local View” column published in the News Tribune on May 2 headlined, “ No hurry in returning to normalcy: Seize chance to make a difference for someone.”

Simplifying the crisis by suggesting it’s lives vs. money is naive. It’s more than that. She seems to ignore that human interaction is a significant part of living and gives value to life itself. The jobs and the livelihoods taken away from millions have stripped them of all sense of worth and well-being. To offer them money and free food in place of these pursuits is denigrating at best.

As a medical student, Nelles should be able to put life and living in perspective. Over 2 million people die in this country every year. There are more than 2,000 abortions daily. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates up to 62,000 people may die from influenza this year. Will COVID-19 deaths add to or supplant the estimated influenza deaths?

All life is precious, but death and illness are facts of life. Living has risks. The risk factor of the coronavirus to the majority of Americans is extremely low. Do we sacrifice all those activities that provide moral worth to people’s lives, including their livelihoods? Do we ignore the growing threat of despair and its associated fallout, such as abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, and suicide?

This isn’t a call to ignore the well-being of others. As has been said, “You don’t burn down the house to get rid of the spiders.”


It’s time to encourage those susceptible to act responsibly and with caution. But it’s also time for us to get back to work and preserve this economy and way of life. If we don’t, Nelles and younger generations will never experience what is or has been a real, meaningful life.

Steve Sommerfeld

Sheridan, Oregon

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