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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Yes, there may be a long-term silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic

Rose Garden news conference
President Trump speaks about the coronavirus during a Friday news conference at the White House.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: While we are entering a period of extreme individual and societal hardship due to COVID-19, I am hopeful that this crisis will be a net positive for the future health of individuals and the planet. (“Trump declares a national emergency over the coronavirus,” March 13)

On the individual level, if more of us develop a habit of frequent hand washing and not shaking hands, the incidence of colds and flu will be reduced. Further, when a vaccine is developed to counter this coronavirus, it will remind people that immunization against influenza viruses is already available and effective.

On the macro level, the slow response of the federal government will likely prompt the restoration of funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the re-establishment of the National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense.

Hopefully, this pandemic will also point out the need for a much more robust infrastructure of public health, optimally grounded in a single-payer financing system.

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Finally, we may realize that much of the long-distance travel we do for in-person meetings is not essential, which would be a great step toward reducing carbon emissions.

Gerald Gollin, M.D., Solana Beach

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To the editor: While I firmly believe that Trump is dangerously malevolent, I am equally dismayed by the 40-year evolution of Republican “leadership” aimed at starving our government.

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President Ronald Reagan proudly stated in his first inaugural address that “government is the problem.” Before he was speaker of the House, former Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) handed out copies of Ayn Rand’s novels. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief political strategist, famously called for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.”

Trump has tried to cut the budgets of the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, and he has failed to fill the position of the White House official responsible for coordinating our response to a pandemic.

Nov. 3 cannot come too soon.

Ken Dusick, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Don’t panic. Yes, there is a threat, but panicking just increases stress.

Pandemics have been around for all of human history. There was the Black Death, the sweating disease, the 1918 influenza pandemic and more. Yes, millions died, but these were in eras without any of the medical assistance we have today.

We are Americans. We have survived wars, the Great Depression and 9/11. We have persevered in every instance.

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This plague will end too. We just need to have patience, hope and common sense.

Marianne Bobick, Long Beach


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