Health and Medicine

I’m an ER Doctor. Here’s What I Feel OK Doing as My State Reopens.

By Amita Sudhir

Slate

As states continue to open up, but COVID shows no signs of magically disappearing, many of us are asking ourselves: What is the safe and responsible thing for me to do? Even if my state says it’s legal for me and a hundred of my closest friends to cavort around a swimming pool in close quarters, swilling margaritas, should I? How much do I owe it to my fellow humans to stay at home, and how much can I allow myself to taste just a little bit of freedom?

I’m an emergency physician, and I have been mulling this over in my own head for weeks. I’ve fielded a few questions from friends that start with: Am I a bad person if … ? This seems to be the crux of the problem: Just because something is allowed does not mean it is safe (or necessary).

Each state seems to be approaching this with varying degrees of scientific insight and common sense, which is certainly adds to the confusion. But more broadly, there are simply many things that I have chosen not to do for safety reasons, even though they are not against the law. For instance, I don’t own a gun. I wouldn’t hurtle at highway speeds in the back of a pickup truck even if I lived in South Dakota, where such an activity would be legal. I would never skydive. So should I just ignore the fact that restrictions are easing, and stay home?

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