Just Say No didn’t work for the War on Drugs and it doesn’t seem to be working for COVID messaging. Maybe it is time for a harm reduction approach. This according to a thought-provoking article in the LA Times today.
Many aren’t buying public officials’ ‘stay-at-home’ message. Experts say there’s a better way
“Harm reduction aims to mitigate the risks of dangerous behaviors instead of trying to get people to cease altogether.”
Harm reduction is about straight talk and giving people the tools to make good decisions.
There is a growing clash even in a largely obedient state like Connecticut between wanting to “do the right thing” and “live our lives.” We were all pretty good during the first wave, but the prospect of bunkering in again for our second wave (this one in the winter) is bleak.
A group of Doctors recently met with Governor Lamont calling on him to shut down gyms and indoor dinning. While recognizing their concerns, he has held off for the most part on draconian shutdowns. Even the Hartford Courant has questioned why he is slow to act.
Dozens of Connecticut doctors ask Gov. Lamont to close gyms and indoor dining as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to spike
Editorial: More Connecticut residents have died from coronavirus than in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined. It’s time for Gov. Lamont — once again — to take decisive action.
There are people who happily embrace the shutdowns, others are outraged by them, and still others who are confused and distrustful.
While I support the public health needs of taking precautions, the shutdowns do seem arbitrary. Why is my daughter’s basketball team prohibited from practicing in empty gyms while wearing masks while pros and college teams can play without masks? Why are people told to stay home when indoor dining is still allowed and stores are open? The state recently issued an edit that only four people could swim in our town’s 11 lane Olympic pool at the same time while allowing four people to sit in a hot tub provided they kept six feet apart. Fortunately, this was overturned by outcry and now 11 people can swim again one to a lane.
I guess for me, I hope that we can all wear masks and keep some sort of distance from each and avoid places of high risk. We don’t have to close down everything or close down everything that doesn’t have money and power tied to it. If you are going to have basketball, allow it with no fans or a small number of fans only in large arenas, and have safety measures in place. Treat a large cavernous gym differently from a small gym with no ventilation. Teach people where the risks are and allow them to choose. Issue edicts in only the most serious of instances.
I can see people accepting mandatory masks if it enables you to keep other aspects of life open.
I think Connecticut did an okay job with much of their reopening after the first wave. You don’t have to close schools, with imagination; we can find safe ways to keep them open.
People will not follow rules that are seen as arbitrary or political. Work with people. Find common ground. Speak the truth, warn of dangers, and take steps to mitigate the risks.
If we can regain people’s trust (hard given all the truth warfare/alternate reality of the last four years), we may have more success than the free for all we have now.
Honest talk, harm reduction, mitigating danger will always work better than forced abstinence and government fiat.