By editorial board • 

Make America great again; embrace shared sacrifice

Make no mistake about it, we are at war. And we are not only losing, but losing badly.

The foe is COVID-19, an insidious and highly infectious virus that’s been having a belated field day with its stopover in the U.S. It’s been beaten back in most parts of the world, including those where it apparently started, but seems to have found its second wind here.

We started out barring Asians and Europeans from our shores. Now they are barring us from theirs.

This virus is currently wreaking particular havoc in the overconfident South and Southwest. But it is on the rise in 36 of our 50 states, including Oregon. No city, state or nation anywhere can consider itself exempt.

Officially, the global count stands at 10.5 million infections and 510,000 deaths, the U.S. figure is 2.7 million infections and 130,000 deaths. Many experts believe the real toll is multiple times higher.

Domestically, we long ago passed the death tally we ran up in almost two decades of bloody battle in Vietnam.

We are witnessing almost 50,000 new infections a day, and epidemiologists fear the number will rise to 100,000 a day. The death toll decreased dramatically in May, then flattened out in June. Given the toll generally lags two or three weeks behind, and that ICU capacity is nearing or exceeding capacity in many locations, the odds of a rising death toll in July is all too likely.

So, are we emulating what worked so admirably in World War II? Are we embracing shared sacrifice, or as Winston Churchill famously put it, shared “blood, toil, tears and sweat?” Are we uniting in a common cause, even though political opposition to our entanglement in the war was intense?

Not quite. But there may still be time.

It is not only vital in terms of our physiological well-being, but also our fiscal welfare. The fact is, we will never restore our economy to health if we can’t restore our citizenry to health first.

Vice President Mike Pence recently told us, “We flattened the curve.” But in the last week, we’ve witnessed multiple new records for daily cases reported.

The misguided optimism reflects earlier assurances from his boss, President Donald Trump.

He told us the virus was “well under control,” that it could be knocked out by an obscure and unproven miracle drug, that a vaccine was just around the corner, and that it would fade of its own accord in the warmth of spring and heat of summer. It took until this Wednesday, after additional pressure from party allies, for the president to change his messaging about face coverings.

Meanwhile, unwary Americans are flocking to some of the most fertile breeding grounds around — beaches, bars, gyms and casinos. And in the name of the economy, many government officials have been encouraging this reckless resumption of business as usual.

We are going in the wrong direction, and this has got to stop.

A workable vaccine is distant and uncertain. What’s more, the growing anti-vaxxer segment of our society will resist its ability to instill sufficient herd immunity.

We are achieving advances in treatment, but on a painstakingly slow and uncertain basis. So we can’t rely on that either.

The simple truth is, we have to fall back on the only four things proven to work — staying at home, washing our hands, avoiding close contact and wearing a mask.

Mask resistance seems particularly fierce, but for no good reason.

The same stubborn individualists who insist no one can make them wear a mask proudly champion the right of free enterprise proprietors to post signs proclaiming, “No shirt, no shoes, no service” and “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” So how is it that mandating shirts and shoes is OK, but requiring masks is not?

We need to return to the values that made America great during the war years of the early 1940s. Those include individual sacrifice in the interest of the larger community, society and nation — an acceptance of the dictum, “All for one and one for all.”



"Flattening the curve was the purpose for sheltering in. We did it as a nation. We sacrificed businesses, family, social activities and even surgeries. What more do you want? Masking, being shut down for the rest of the year? After all, who cares about jobs and businesses.


You’re seeing what happens in Florida and Texas when people don’t take precautions seriously....the numbers in our state are growing keep businesses open, people need to do the right of which is wear a mask in public places.

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