Our Views: On COVID-19, Take Politics Out and Listen to the Health Experts


At a time when elected officials are asking — and in some cases demanding — that we dramatically alter our lives in the interest of halting the spread of COVID-19, it’s understandable that many are questioning their actions.

The residential and commercial construction industry, for instance, is rightly asking why its workers have been ordered to stay home while others doing the very same work are allowed to continue building government projects. 

Likewise, it seems reasonable — even obvious — that anglers should be allowed to chase fish in socially distant fashion. 

These and other areas of Gov. Jay Inslee’s “stay home, stay healthy” order should certainly be scrutinized at a time when it feels to many like their civil rights are being taken away. 

Our freedom of speech has not been impugned, and those who represent us in government should listen earnestly to feedback and make adjustments to their orders and proclamations on a case by case basis as the situation changes on the ground. 

When it comes to the dangers posed by the novel coronavirus, though, we should all be listening to the experts.

In times of war, we rely on our generals. 

In times of a pandemic, we must rely on those who have trained all of their lives to work in the medical field and respond to various health crises. 

Of all the comments we’ve seen on social media and other platforms in recent days calling for the full and immediate reopening of the state’s economy, many with the added caveat that this virus is no big deal, not one of them have been made by a health professional. 

We’ve seen the conspiracy theories. We’ve heard the bogus claims. We’ve even provided space in our letters to the editor section for those who believe COVID-19 is no worse than a bad flu. 

All of these voices combined hold no weight against those of our health professionals, and while we’d love to see the immediate, safe reopening of the economy, the trusted voices are all saying to hunker down and prepare for a “new normal,” one that will likely extend for many months. 

There is hope, though. 

“Thanks to all our sacrifices, we are doing well, and the temptation is there to get relief from all the restrictions, but there is a danger to lifting restrictions too early,” wrote Diana T. Yu, Thurston County’s acting health officer “We know that political leaders and health officials are discussing and planning for the ‘best timing.’ Whenever restrictions are lifted, we can expect a rebound increase in cases. We are still in the middle of a pandemic, and as long as the virus      continues to spread anywhere, it can be reintroduced back into our community. As we begin our recovery process, the lifting of restrictions will be gradual. I suspect we will continue to recommend teleworking as much as possible, social distancing and hand hygiene. This will be part of our ‘new normal” for a while.’”

Our best advice is to follow that of our health professionals, as frustrating as that might be. They tell us to wash our hands regularly, maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from others and stay home as much as possible. 

The sooner — and longer — we do that, the safer we will all be and the sooner we can slowly return to our normal ways of life. 

There’s nothing political about that.