Opinion | Shaming People for Their Covid Choices

To the Editor:

Re “Stop the Covid Shaming” (Op-Ed, Dec. 5):

Dr. Aaron E. Carroll doesn’t seem to grasp the severity of the situation. We are not just faced with a virus, but with the worst worldwide public health crisis since 1918. Sadly, a good portion of the American public doesn’t have the wits or the attention span to take responsibility for their own health or that of their fellow Americans.

Responsibility for the common good is not encouraged by the egocentric culture in this country. Donald Trump and his cohort have encouraged ego and self-interest even further, to the point of gross negligence.

In light of that, we may have to resort to Covid shaming, mandatory regulations and hefty fines to bring people to their senses.

Sabine Thomas
New York

To the Editor:

To Aaron E. Carroll’s understandable public health plea against excessive “shaming” and “scolding” of ill-informed Covid deniers I would respond: Why, then, do we shame (and fine monetarily or with other penalties, even jail) people for speeding, not wearing seatbelts, smoking in public facilities, cheating on tax returns and college exams, or lying under oath? Does “shame” have no place anymore in our society?

Ty Geltmaker
West Hollywood, Calif.

To the Editor:

Thank you, Aaron Carroll, for a thoughtful, compassionate column about people who make choices different from our own. Dr. Carroll reminds us that we have no idea why people make the choices they do, whether traveling over Thanksgiving or failing to social distance. Those who scold and blame may enjoy the feeling of righteousness, but actually further the divide we desperately want to narrow.

We are all flawed, failing and struggling with choices we must make.

Peggy Barnhart
St. Louis

To the Editor:

This is a pandemic the likes of which most of us have never experienced in our lifetime. Never, except in wartime, has it been more important to be a good citizen.

Whether some people’s feelings are hurt when they are criticized for reckless behavior seems immaterial to our efforts to control this virus. And that will happen only if most of us tolerate inconvenience for everyone’s benefit.

Rae Koshetz
New York

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