Similar images rolled in from around the country on early news programs Monday morning: Large crowds gathered on beaches, in bars and at various events, with few masks being worn and little social distancing going on.

It’s like someone stood up and said, “The coronavirus that put everyday life on hold for months is over.”

Just like that, magically, because summer has rolled around and, more specifically, because people are just tired of it.

But reputable medical experts know better. Those experts, on all levels, are advising caution and warning of a second wave that could potentially be more severe than the first.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top medical expert, has been warning that going about business as was usual pre-epidemic could “trigger an outbreak that you can’t control.”

This first-in-most-people’s-lifetime pandemic is a complex and multilayered creature. It’s confounding the global medical community, and it’s forcing those of us in the United States — from our legislators down to each and every individual — to think about things like privacy and individual rights and just how deeply we want the government to stick its nose in our business.

It’s forcing us to weigh individual rights against personal responsibility, what feels good to us against what might be best for the common good.

No matter who agrees or doesn’t, there’s no stopping the reopening of the American economy. Moderate and regularly diminishing restrictions aside, that ship has sailed and probably couldn’t be called back to port even if anyone wanted it to be.

Although businesses can set their own requirements for people wanting to patronize them, no one can legally compel anyone to wear masks in public or to abide by the 20-second hand-washing guideline or douse you in hand sanitizer at the door. Regulations about social distancing still stand, but enforcement of them is arbitrary, vague and nearly impossible.

Individual freedoms and the right to choose — under the “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” umbrella — are the foundation of who we are as Americans.

As the country reopens, the choice to use common sense and to follow the safety guidelines put forth by medical experts isn’t a matter of law. It’s a matter of choice. Your choice. Choose wisely.

Margaret Battistelli Gardner

Margaret Battistelli Gardner: 409.683.5227; Margaret.Gardner@galvnews.com

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Margaret joined The Daily New in December 2019, bringing more than 20 years of editorial experience to the team. A Philadelphia native, she lives in Galveston County with her husband, Steve, and their dog Nanook.

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(33) comments

Kimberley Jones Yancy

Great article! Wisdom is crucial during these uncertain times.

Bailey Jones

"Individual freedoms and the right to choose — under the “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” umbrella — are the foundation of who we are as Americans." This is a fact. But Americans also, most of us, understand the value of common sacrifice for the common good. I wonder how many of these "masks = tyranny" types would have grabbed their guns and stormed the statehouses in 1942 to demand an end to food and gas rationing or night time blackouts? I'm guessing quite a few.

Carlos Ponce

Believe it or not, Bailey, there are cities and counties that have had ZERO incidents of infection and death from the Wuhan Virus.

Jim Forsythe

The majority of nations that haven't reported any cases of the coronavirus are isolated island chains in the Pacific.

Comoros, Lesotho, Turkmenistan, North Korea, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue, and Palau.

The one's that are islands were mostly spared the coronavirus because countries in Asia were quickly locked down, preventing travel and tourism.

Experts agree that official information from Turkmenistan is notoriously unreliable.

Lesotho, like many other African countries, also has experience managing pandemics. Methods such as social isolation and contact tracing are well established in parts of southern and eastern Africa.

Robert Saunders, professor of international relations said one of the reasons why Turkmenistan has no confirmed cases may be due to lack of testing.

North Korea is one of the world's most secretive, repressive, and authoritarian countries in the world, and the regime's propaganda machine controls the flow of information.

Bailey Jones

I don't know what a Wuhan Virus is, but it's true that the COVID-19 virus hasn't infected every town in America, yet. And the Germans never bombed Galveston. I suppose you would have foregone the blackouts.

Carlos Ponce

Bailey, the Wuhan virus is a corona virus that originated in Wuhan in the Hubei Province of China in 2019. CNN used that name for the virus. If you have a problem with it, take it up with them.

Bailey Jones

COVID-19 is the name given by the World Health Organization on February 11, 2020 for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. As near as I can tell, only those who ape the president and/or are scientifically illiterate refer to it as the Chinese virus, the Wuhan Virus, Kung Flu, "little flu", etc. Feel free.

Carlos Ponce

So Bailey is calling CNN illiterate......

Virginia Stone

whats your point?

Wayne D Holt

Bailey, with all due respect to you for your many insightful comments in GDN: it's over. The charade that this was/is anything requiring the demolition of our economy and the sacking of nearly 40,000,000 Americans is settled. This was (known) very bad data that was gulped down by politicians who couldn't be bothered to research it themselves and make a politically balanced decision, and massaged into a lather of terror by the mass media.

The latest CDC numbers show a 1 in 4000 fatality case rate. 62 percent of all US fatalities were in six states where governors forced virus-positive cases back into nursing homes. Back these numbers out and you have a fatality rate LOWER than an average flu season. In addition, in many countries the median age at death of Covid-19 victims is LOWER than the average life expectancy for that country.

It's over. It doesn't matter how many emotional appeals, "second wave" warnings, two-weeks to apocalypse or whatever are trotted out again. The science is settled, and by the very authorities who brought this nightmare upon us. There is no point in sacrificing oneself for an imaginary goal, or a principle that never was more than the panicked response of a political class that was content with being cork boards for whatever changing medical bulletins that were tacked on them.

BTW for those who like to repeat "We're all in this together!", that is another bit of feelgood nonsense. 40,000,000 of us are now totally out of the normal economic life that Americans take for granted. In the meantime, a tiny sliver of American billionaires have seen their aggregate wealth rise by nearly $50,000,000,000 in a matter of a few weeks as large enterprises were given the green light to service the demands that could no longer be filled by the small businesses that were choked to death by senseless government edits.

It's over. What we should be concerning ourselves with now is recovery, and learning the hard lessons this has taught us about trusting our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor to those undeserving of it.

Bailey Jones

100,000 Americans dead in 2 months. I know that's not much in your estimation. Your president claims it could have been 2,000,000 without the shutdown. We'll never know. What we do know is that 100,000 American dead isn't nearly the end of it. It's not over, not by a long shot.

Wayne D Holt

When the fatality rate is the same as what we've seen in other flu seasons, and the majority (62%) were put in the grave by the actions of a few governors, your shrillness is alarming.

40,000,000 Americans who can't pay their bills, are increasingly suicidal, are abusing their spouses and children at alarming rates, are exhibiting mental health issues associated with extreme isolation, have doubled their rate of alcohol consumption and other direct effects of a lockdown you support is a whole lot in my estimation; maybe not yours.

There are so many problems with the narrative you simply accept that I won' go over them all again as I have in the past many weeks; I'm sure you're aware of what they are. It's pointless to keep repeating facts that are being given now even by the authorities you have looked to and yet have you attempt cheap shots about my sensitivity to deaths.

What's not over by a long shot is the insane level of damage that has been caused by people who have taken a serious virus threat and managed to parlay it into the greatest economic hit job in world history. Keep cheering them on, they are going to need all the support they can get from the credulous as this disaster unfolds.

BTW the president is the president of the United States of America. I happen to have donated to Tulsi Gabbard this primary season but your folks at the DNC made sure a voice pleading to avoid more foreign wars was buried before it could gain traction.

Susan Fennewald

Common sense is a tricky think to define.

My common sense tells me that a crowded bar is an extreme contagion situation.

My common sense also tells me that beachgoers on the beach with a 10 or 20 mph wind coming onshore don't need to be 6 ft apart or wear masks, and to demand it defies common sense.

Wayne D Holt

Like a breath of fresh air in reasoning...[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Jim Forsythe

About 1/3 of the deaths in the World from COVID-19 are in the USA. This is the important fact that we need to concentrate on. Some are acting like the danger from it is over, which may lead to a 2ed wave.

USA, total deaths--99,470 and 1,435 deaths 5-25

World, total deaths--352,984 and 857 deaths 5-25.

Yesterday we had more deaths than the rest of the world combined!

Carlos Ponce

"Yesterday we had more deaths than the rest of the world combined!" That were reported, Jim. Dr. Birx said roughly one-forth of the American deaths attributed to the Wuhan-Coronavirus are really attributed to other factors. US numbers are the combination of 50 different standards for determining death from the virus. One day the bean counters will sift through the data and determine the numbers were bad but not as bad as reported. As for the rest of the world, can you really believe what is reported. Watching Mexican TV interviews of crematorium workers they report the numbers are much higher than what is being reported. Same thing throughout the world.

Jim Forsythe

What I post is the official number of deaths. They may be revised later after the deaths have been looked at in a more in-depth way. Some Drs are saying that we have had more deaths than has been reported.

"Speculation that coronavirus-related deaths are possibly being underreported in the state falls in line with similar concerns in other areas of the country. ... Dr. Birx asking CDC to investigate."

Carlos, do you think the daily report for Galveston County is wrong?

Which states are overreporting, by the facts you have? I'm not talking about Trump facts, but real facts.

Carlos Ponce

The numbers are all in question.

Jim Forsythe

They are the ones that will be used until proven they are wrong. Do you have verified numbers that are different?

Carlos Ponce

Jim posts, "They may be revised later..." They will be.

Wayne D Holt

Jim, the CDC now says the overall fatality rate for all US populations is 0.004 percent. Of that number, 62% were seniors victimized by six governors who sent them back to nursing homes and senior facilities to keep from overburdening hospital systems that wound up furloughing medical staff because of underutilization.

For the life of me I cannot understand how people can look at these facts and yet keep parroting the official line that the experts saved the world. In fact, they torched the world and we will be watching it burn for a good long time.

Mission accomplished.

Joe Mancuso

I can't find where Dr. Birx said that the numbers were inflated by 25%. I did find several articles that said she "feared the CDC was inflating coronavirus statistics, like mortality rates and case numbers, by up to 25 percent". Can you provide a link so I can read it, please?

Carlos Ponce

WAPO:

"During a task force meeting Wednesday, a heated discussion broke out between Deborah Birx, the physician who oversees the administration’s coronavirus response, and Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Birx and others were frustrated with the CDC’s antiquated system for tracking virus data, which they worried was inflating some statistics — such as mortality rate and case count — by as much as 25 percent, according to four people present for the discussion or later briefed on it. Two senior administration officials said the discussion was not heated."

“There is nothing from the CDC that I can trust,” Birx said, according to two of the people.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/as-deaths-mount-trump-tries-to-convince-americans-its-safe-to-inch-back-to-normal/2020/05/09/bf024fe6-9149-11ea-a9c0-73b93422d691_story.html

"such as mortality rate and case count — by as much as 25 percent,"

"such as mortality rate and case count — by as much as 25 percent,"

Let that soak in, Joe.

You DO know what "mortality rate" means, right?

You DO know what "case count" means, right?

I hear you Liberals LOVE and TRUST WAPO.

And if you don't know what "inflating" means, look it up?

Joe Mancuso

Wow, didn't mean to get your goat, Carlos!

Your statement was that "Dr. Birx said roughly one-forth of the American deaths attributed to the Wuhan-Coronavirus are really attributed to other factors." That's not what she said at all, at least not in the link you provided and not in the articles I've read. You paraphrased what was said and tried to use it as fact to support your position. You do know what "paraphrase" means, right? If not, you can look it up.

The link you provided says "Birx and others were frustrated with the CDC’s antiquated system for tracking virus data, which they worried was inflating some statistics — such as mortality rate and case count — by as much as 25 percent, according to four people present for the discussion or later briefed on it." Slightly different wouldn't you say. You state it as fact that 25 percent were attributed to other factors by Dr. Birx. She didn't say that. She's worried that the numbers could be off by as much as 25 percent. Can you discern the difference? You do know what "discern" means, right? If not, you can look it up.

If you're going to make statements and phrase them as facts, you can expect to be called out if your statements are not based in fact. You have no problem calling other people out for their statements, even inferring that they are "stupid" or "leftist" or "liberal" when they don't agree with you or challenge you. So, don't get upset when someone challenges you or doesn't agree with you.

And, once again, here you are trying to label me, this time as a "Liberal". What in my post would label me as a Liberal? I simply asked a question. You tried to label me as a "leftist" the other day. How'd that work out for you? Seems to be a common act on your part - resorting to name calling when you are challenged or can't defend your position. It's so much easier and more productive just to have a discussion without all that.

Let that soak in, Carlos.

Carlos Ponce

"That's not what she said at all.." There's an expression, Joe: "Can't see the forest for the trees" and that fit you. According to WAPO that's what she said.

Not a Liberal Leftist? I hear braying! It's obvious, Joe. Still won't tell us who you voted for or supported in 2016? That's your right but it speaks VOLUMES.

Carlos Ponce

" Can you discern the difference?" I CAN. Problem is your lack of comprehension, Joe. Look up "MORTALITY RATE". Apparently you have no concept. If you cannot sense what I posted and what WAPO posted are equivalent you have a problem.

Joe Mancuso

Thank you for proving my point. Name calling - that's all you got.

Still can't discern the difference between what you said and what Dr. Birx said, huh? It's obvious you don't get it. Most do. Keep trying, you'll get it eventually.

You have a good day.

Carlos Ponce

You have a good day too, Leftist Joe. (Hey, I don't blame you for not revealing you were a Hillary supporter. Oh, the shame of it all!)

Joe Mancuso

Just a suggestion, Carlos, Dig up! You're embarrassing yourself!

Carlos Ponce

Oh, Leftist Joe, You make me laugh![beam][beam][beam]

Chuck DiFalco

"there’s no stopping the reopening of the American economy..., that ship has sailed and probably couldn’t be called back to port even if anyone wanted it to be."

That's good, because if lockdowns are ordered again, Great Depression 2.0 will happen.

James Woodall

On another lighter note, since the last time, I contributed in a non political manner..

The Chinese government has signalled an end to the human consumption of dogs, with the agriculture ministry today releasing a draft policy that would forbid canine meat. Citing the “progress of human civilisation” as well as growing public concern over animal welfare and prevention of disease transmission from animals to humans, China’s Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Affairs singled out canines as forbidden in a draft “white list” of animals allowed to be raised for meat. Bamboo rats left in limbo as breeders push back against China wildlife ban

The ministry called dogs a “special companion animal” and one not internationally recognised as livestock.

The city of Shenzhen recently approved the first ever mainland China ban on consumption of dog and cat meat, a move that has given hope to animal welfare groups worldwide that other parts of the country could soon follow suit. The new draft policy has provided even more. “The signal is the first ever from a ministry that dogs are not food animals". While not officially a ban on the consumption of dog meat, the draft policy from the agriculture ministry could be a “game changer moment for animal welfare in China”.

“That signals a major shift, recognising that most people in China don’t eat dogs and cats and want an end to the theft of their companion animals for a meat trade that only a small percentage of the population indulge. HSI estimates that between 10 and 20 million dogs are killed in China for their meat annually, while Animals Asia puts the figure for cats at around 4 million per year. Most of these are stolen animals and not raised in captive breeding facilities, Higgins said. “Not only does it cause enormous animal suffering, but it is also almost entirely fuelled by crime and, perhaps most significantly right now, poses an undeniable human health threat with the risk of diseases such as rabies and cholera,” she said.

Wildlife such as deer, game birds, along with mink, two kinds of foxes, and other animals were included on a list of animals expected to be approved as farm-raised species once China’s central government lifts a ban on the wildlife trade. The temporary wildlife trade ban was imposed from late January in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, largely thought to have originated in the formal or illicit wildlife supply chain.

But campaigners hope the government will go still further. Listing wild animals, including foxes and raccoon dogs, as ‘special livestock’ is concerning. Rebranding wildlife as livestock doesn’t alter the fact that there are insurmountable challenges to keeping these species in farm environments, their welfare needs simply can’t be met. In addition, there’s clear evidence that some of these species can act as intermediate hosts of viruses, such as Covid-19, which is why we’re urging China and all governments to stop trading in wildlife.”

Ted Gillis

I was prepared to scroll James, but stopped and read your post.

Very interesting reading. Good to hear that China is implementing modern principles.

Now if we could just eliminate dog fighting here in the US.

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