Letters to the Editor: Closed parks and closed schools -- what could possibly go wrong?

Echo Park Lake
Friends gather with their dogs and enjoy a Sunday afternoon beside Echo Park Lake. Social distancing requirements remain in effect in Los Angeles and the rest of California.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: My teenage sons, like other Los Angeles Unified School District students, are stuck at home. They don’t just want to go for a walk. They should be able to go to one of our local parks to exercise. (“No, seriously. Stay home,” editorial, March 23)

But I’m scared about their safety now that golf courses and basketball and tennis courts are off-limits. I fear that the health protection and police powers of the state are set to converge in a way that will be especially dangerous for boys and men of color — the people most likely to be over-policed in our public spaces.

The benefits of regular physical activity are real and long-lasting. Does the risk of illness and death from COVID-19 for the general population outweigh the benefits of exercise, nature contact and fresh air?


A singles match of tennis easily meets “social distancing” recommendations. Can’t we find ways to manage recreation facilities without outlawing their use? Parks are public health.

Manal Aboelata, Los Angeles


To the editor: For all those (younger) folks who are being asked to stay away from beaches and parks:

Your fathers and grandfathers went to war in foreign lands. You are being asked to stay at home and sit on the sofa.

I know you have it in you. You can do this.

Donald Basta, Santa Ana


To the editor: As an expert in medical communication who once served as a medical reporter for a local news station, I believe that part of the problem getting people to comply with restrictions is the ineffectiveness of the messaging.

Although the president would probably call them “tremendous,” Trump’s briefings, along with those of the governor and the Los Angeles mayor, are much too long with inconsistent messages. Only the National Institutes of Health’s Dr. Anthony Fauci presents a consistent and scientifically sound message.


More effective would be one short daily factual briefing representing all levels of government, with a consistent message in media that reaches an age-appropriate audience carried by the influencers who young people already follow instead of a long-winded politician.

Here’s an example of a simple message: “Six feet apart or six feet under.”

Arthur L. Wisot, MD, Rolling Hills Estates


To the editor: Too many people may not be taking social distancing seriously, but your photo of the dog owners at Echo Park Lake shows people doing exactly what has been requested. They are obviously keeping at least, if not more than, the required six feet apart.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti encouraged folks stay healthy and go outside but practice social distancing, and now he appears to be freaking out because we have taken his advice.

Marty Wilson, Whittier