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Letter: ‘Personal freedom’ is not freedom to infect others

Letter: ‘Personal freedom’ is not freedom to infect others

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Republican politicians Paul Berry, left, celebrates with Patricia and Mark McCloskey in front row

Republican politician Paul Berry, left, celebrates with Patricia and Mark McCloskey, who were also in the front row, after the St. Louis County Council's 5-2 vote to repeal the mask mandate during a council meeting on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Clayton. (Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com)

After reading “Amid surge, GOP lawmakers limit public health powers” (July 26), I was struck with the reliance of some conservatives on “personal freedoms” as the basis to object to public health officials’ efforts to protect the health of all citizens.

When a personal freedom includes a person’s willingness to accept catching and spreading a deadly contagious disease, others who are at risk of serious illness or death are impacted. No one supports the personal freedom of someone throwing a firebomb into a crowded theater, but the effect of restricting public health officials to combat emergencies is precisely the same.

When a person’s decision to ignore public health measures can lead to the death of another, personal freedoms must yield to the public good.

Lou Laderman • Ladue

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