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Freedom must overcome fear

By Staff | May 26, 2020

To the editor:

Freedom is the ability to do things in the present. Fear is the worry that present actions may result in a future bad event. Science is the antidote to fear. Science provides knowledge. Knowledge gives us the power to protect ourselves. Science shows the corona virus survives longer indoors than outdoors making it no surprise there are higher infection rates among those sheltering at home where virus may linger on surfaces and in the air. Prevention of infection from contaminated surfaces is best done by cleaning them, personal hand washing and avoiding touching your face. Indoor protection from contaminated air is much harder.

Coughing may spread corona virus 30 feet and masks limit that spread. Talking and exhaling may spread virus but not as far. Spread from asymptomatic individuals requires prolonged, close contact. This is defined as living in the same household where virus may linger in the air, sitting next to someone for over 15 minutes or face-to-face discussions closer than 6 feet.

There is no proven risk when people outside on bicycles, jogging or walking past you are not wearing a mask.

We now know corona virus survival is less than 2 minutes outdoors in the sun, markedly lowering the risk of infecting others when outdoors.

It is unfortunate when fear is used to demand government restrictions that take away our freedom. Fear leads to episodes of people who sleep together at home not being allowed to sit together in public. People jogging without masks are accosted, labeled anti-social and disease spreaders, despite presenting neither the face-to-face nor the prolonged contact that poses risk.

We already know people should not cough into someone else’s face. We already know to distance from those who have a tendency to “spray it” when they “say it.” We already know sick people should stay home. We already know to wash hands and clean surfaces.

It is the shaming and blaming that should be condemned, not joggers without masks or families at the park who pose no risk. Everyone should be free to go outside without fear of being accosted, embarrassed or fined by the government. Those who are afraid can choose to stay home.

Michael F. Raab