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William Steinmeier

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

Helen Keller once said: "Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is a daring adventure, or nothing."

Life is full of risks. Always has been, always will be. To pretend that the risk of catching coronavirus will end if we all just stay indoors long enough is fantasy. To believe it is always and immediately fatal is fallacy. Many people have had it and never even knew it. But, while we remain locked down, jobs are lost, businesses go bankrupt, other medical conditions go undiagnosed or untreated, and depression and addictive behaviors soar. Hospitals, having prepared for an onslaught of COVID-19 patients that hasn't materialized most places, are laying off staff. American society and our economy are far too complicated and interconnected to simply "lock down" indefinitely, waiting for coronavirus to disappear.

In some places, like Michigan, the government has overreached to govern the smallest of behaviors of its residents, even in ways that no rational person can argue have any relationship to the possible spread of COVID-19. Fortunately for us, our approach in Missouri has been more measured.

However, it is time to face the realization that some of us are going to contract coronavirus, and a few of us are going to die from it. We are going to have to live with this risk for a while. The risk of having no jobs to return to, or of increasing suicide rates, or of losing more people to undiagnosed or untreated conditions, is greater than the risk of dying from coronavirus.

Americans have voluntarily foregone some of our constitutional rights, including the freedom of assembly, to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. We must now claim back those rights from our government. The goal was to "flatten the curve." We have accomplished that. But some are trying to move the goal posts to "until we find a cure." That may never happen, and certainly will not before our recently thriving economy is essentially destroyed. We gave states and hospitals time to become fully equipped and prepared to treat those who contract it. Now we need to get back to business and learn to live with COVID among us, as we do so many risks of life.

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