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To the Editor:
Re “Fauci Ultimately Failed on Covid-19,” by Ari Schulman (Opinion guest essay, Sept. 1):
Mr. Schulman rightly examines our nation’s responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, but takes an overly simplistic stance, blaming Dr. Anthony Fauci. It is easy to play Monday morning quarterback, but doing so ignores many realities.
“We must,” Mr. Schulman writes, learn to see science as “something we are right to make demands of, right at times to get angry at.”
But, in fact, science is largely an ongoing process of experiments of trial and error, whether man-made or naturally occurring, that test hypotheses in the face of uncertainty. It is not a unified, established, fixed set of facts. It consists of thousands of individuals all over the world, often working independently. And the Covid-19 virus was rapidly mutating and spreading in ways and to degrees that were, especially initially, immensely unclear.
To be sure, scientists communicating to the public must convey this uncertainty, but social media and the public often ignore it, focusing on the headline.
The public can “demand” definitive answers, but to expect them, as a new pandemic unfolds, is unrealistic. Rather than blame Dr. Fauci, we should work to better educate the public about science and how it works, what to expect of it, and when.
Robert Klitzman
New York
The writer is a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master of science in bioethics program at Columbia University.
To the Editor:
As a lung and I.C.U. doctor who had to deal with this brutal disease from Day 1, I found Dr. Anthony Fauci to be the one person in the government who had intelligent things to say about how Covid-19 spread, what treatments to use and how best to safeguard society.
I remember listening to Dr. Fauci talk, usually in clips at noon in the physicians’ lounge after rounds. These were like my F.D.R. fireside chats, imbuing us with courage and resolve to keep up the brutal work, all the time knowing there was a voice of reason out there. He was not perfect, no, but he was a single voice of reason through the fog of malignant disinformation.
Let’s focus not on a few things Dr. Fauci could have done better, but on how to get the nation appropriate universal health coverage, which most other nations in North America and Europe have, and which might have saved more than 300,000 lives during Covid.
Michael Stephen
The writer is a pulmonologist and the author of “Breath Taking: The Power, Fragility, and Future of Our Extraordinary Lungs.”
To the Editor:
Ari Schulman’s guest essay sets forth the process by which Dr. Anthony Fauci became vilified by a significant segment of the American populace. But the underlying cause of such vilification is that American society has become selfish and defines liberty as the individual’s right not to be restricted by government regulation even if it’s in the best interest of the community.
The majority of the nation has chosen to believe that individuals have a right to do what they please, when they please, regardless of their impact on the health or safety of the society at large.
Daniel Shapiro
Suffern, N.Y.
To the Editor:
Re “Migrants Sent to Martha’s Vineyard as Message” (front page, Sept. 16):
On abortion, politicians like Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas tell us that life is sacred and begins at conception. Yet they then treat undocumented immigrants, including children, as chattel and political props to be used as they see fit. Such conduct is shockingly immoral.
Brendan Williams
Somersworth, N.H.
To the Editor:
It’s ironic that Florida exports migrants seeking opportunity to Massachusetts, and Massachusetts exports millionaires dodging taxes to Florida.
Tom Keiser
Wellesley, Mass.
To the Editor:
I’m a family medicine doctor from rural Minnesota. I’m also a mom and a wife, and I’ve had two abortions. My first abortion was when I was 31. I was just starting medical school, and my husband and I didn’t think it was good timing. A couple of years later I had a son, and a few years after that a daughter.
A few weeks ago I had another positive pregnancy test, and I had a second abortion. This time it was because we want only two kids. I am so lucky to live somewhere with access to abortion, and to have no obligation to tell anyone why I’m having it. No one could force me to carry a pregnancy that I didn’t want. I was able to plan my own life and provide for my kids the way I think is best. People have a right to plan their families.
If you have a uterus, you have the right to decide if you want to carry a pregnancy. You can change your mind. Whether you would have an abortion has no bearing on anyone else’s fundamental rights.
Banning abortion does not stop abortions; it just creates unnecessary barriers to care, especially for marginalized communities.
Please fight for abortion access. People who have abortions aren’t nameless — we are your moms, doctors, wives — and we need you.
Laura M. Lara
Maplewood, Minn.
To the Editor:
Re “There Are Plenty of Stories Here” (Arts & Leisure, Sept. 4), about the TV producer David Milch’s memoir exploring his struggle with Alzheimer’s:
I was deeply moved reading the piece about Mr. Milch. In June 2015, I attended the Writers Guild of America’s Craft Conference and retreat in Lake Arrowhead, Calif. The weekend conference was for unestablished writers like me to meet established ones like Mr. Milch and gain valuable insight.
That weekend, I experienced a true rarity in my career; Mr. Milch offered to read a pilot script I had written, which a network had recently passed over. I gave him the script with no expectation that he would read it, but Mr. Milch was a different bird. Not only did he read my script, he read it right away and then joined me at lunch to give detailed notes. He practically knew the script better than I did!
He spent a long time analyzing the script, offering up ideas and encouragement. He talked to me as if I were his peer, just another writer trying to write a great story.
But what struck me so deeply when reading this article was how we never know what is going on in someone else’s life. No one at that conference had any idea that this sharp mind was just starting its long, slow descent into Alzheimer’s. Mr. Milch isn’t just a creative giant, he’s also a spiritual one — gracious, humble and kind. They should give Emmys for that.
Julie Davis
Studio City, Calif.
To the Editor:
Re “Racism Erodes the American Theater” (Arts & Leisure, Sept. 4):
Jesse Green reveals that theatrical characters far from his own experiences caused him to “triangulate my own geography by distant stars.”
This is a beautiful metaphor reminding us that as we work toward equity and visibility in artists and audiences, theater also continues to inspire through situations that might initially appear to be at a remove from one’s own life. The landscape expands and the unfamiliar reveals more of ourselves than we initially recognized.
Jeff McMahon
New York
The writer is professor emeritus at the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, Arizona State University.