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  • Writer's picturePhil Latham

Attitudes can be dangerous to your health

For those who didn’t notice, another 1,011 people in the United States died Tuesday with the primary cause of death being Covid-19. That went along with almost 60,000 new cases across the country.

Out of a population of 328 million, that doesn’t seem like such a big deal unless, of course, you happened to be one of the thousand whose life ended, or a family member, or friend, or….

This is similar to the truism that the only “minor” surgery is one performed on someone else.


As we all know, Smith County has not escaped the pandemic. Here, we’ve seen 4,137 cases of Covid-19. It’s important to remember, though, that these are only the cases reported, which takes going to a physician or getting tested.

We will never know the number of actual cases suffered here.

This could be one reason why Smith County’s total is a bit lower per capita than average.

Roughly one in every 55 people here has had Covid-19 at this point but that ratio is going to narrow as the weeks pass. How much it narrows is anybody’s guess. Super-spreader events could make it much worse. 

In Texas, the ratio is 1:34, which is higher than the national average of 1:41. Texas has been a “leader” in the pandemic almost from the beginning.

Blame Gov. Greg Abbott if you wish and he sure deserves plenty of the blame but he has also fought against others in his party who have said — incredibly — that his response has been an overreaction.

It could be worse, and has been in some other states where the governors have been even more clueless about how to stop spread of the disease and refused to issue orders that people wear masks.

The goofy excuse from those who refuse to mask up has been that their “freedom” is somehow being infringed. Sorry, but the virus will most definitely violate your civil rights in ways you cannot imagine. A mild case might take away your freedom from sneezing and coughing. A more severe case could take away your right to breathe.

You have to wonder how these people — and there are plenty of them in Smith County and across East Texas — would handle an even more serious situation.

During World War II, the government rationed a number of items. No more freedom to buy anything and everything you wished.

Have you ever heard of any yahoos carrying around rifles demanding to buy more butter in those days? No, people thought a bit more deeply, understanding that, sometimes, there is a cause greater than “me" and what I want.

This new attitude is indicative of a new disease we’re facing, one that has us imagining that “me” is the only person who is important and always above all else. The truth is that “me” sometimes has to be set aside to make room for “we.”

Some folks just refuse to do that, which makes them dangerous not only the general health of the populace but the health of our country.

They may call what they do as being “patriotic” but “idiotic” comes a lot closer to the truth.

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