A couple thoughts on a couple things

The unpleasant fact about COVID-19, here and elsewhere, is that as we reopen, we’re going to have more cases. That means more deaths, and more potential long-run damage to individuals’ health. 

The alternative — to close down the economy and its components again — is apparently too costly to consider. 

Even though the nation has spent several trillion dollars so far to tide people and businesses over during the pandemic’s shutdown, that’s a Plan B that can’t be sustained.

The sooner we get a viable vaccine and distribute it throughout the nation, the better off we’re going to be. Signs looks promising as of now. But no one knows for sure when that will be, and like other tough problems (like cleaning up the rivers or reducing the national debt), it’s going to take some time.

And life isn’t fair. COVID-19 spreads more rapidly, and more deadly, in some locations than in others. Where people mingle in close quarters, like manufacturing plants and prisons and parties, the infection rate is relatively high. 

It’s still an open question whether reopening schools can be done safely, but reopening is going to happen, and the institutions of learning will take every precaution possible to promote safety. Fortunately, young people seem less likely to contract the disease, and if they do get it it’s likely to be a light case.

Not so with older folks, those 65 and older, and those with compromised health conditions. That’s why homes for the elderly have to be very careful to follow public health guidelines. 

Those are the facts. They’re not weapons for political battles. They’re facts. 

Until most people in a community practice health safety in large groups — wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, washing or sanitizing their hands — the threat of infection will continue. 

It doesn’t take many carriers of the disease to infect a sizable population, and the more we reopen, the greater the danger. 

A number of businesses are starting to require both staff and customers to wear masks in their stores.

States and communities that disregard the basics are paying the price, and may face reclosing if their trends stay on an uptick. It’s impossible to tightly enforce public health guidelines for masses of people. It’s up to people themselves to take the initiative. 

Cultures where people look out for each other will come through OK. Those where people look out for themselves alone won’t. 

It’s not complicated. And clear-eyed, sensible leadership is essential.


The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t saying Only Black Lives Matter. It’s saying Black Lives Matter Too. 

It’s no secret that in some parts of the nation, and in some cities, law enforcement personnel sometimes come down harder on people of color than on white people. Being stopped simply for Driving While Black happens too frequently in some locations. Black and brown people fear being roughed up during arrests more than white people do.

White kids rarely get “The Talk” from their parents about how to behave if stopped by law officers. It’s a common rite of passage for Black and brown youngsters.

It’s a sad but true fact that Iowa is among the nation’s leaders among the states for higher incarceration rates of people of color compared to white residents. Not in absolute numbers, but rather in terms of incarceration rates compared to racial populations.

I wish the Black Lives Matter movement had added the word “Too” to the slogan. That would make it clear that the movement leadership isn’t saying “Only Black Lives Matter,” but rather that everyone’s life matters. 

Until people of different racial backgrounds are treated the same everywhere in America, the Black Lives Matter movement will need to continue. 

Real progress looks to be underway these days.

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