Letter: Column undermined public health and the common good

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.

To the editor:

I am disappointed that Lowell Anderson's column, "We could learn a lot from a squirrel," went to print in the Echo Press last week (March 26). I read this column in the context of Anderson's Jan. 1 where he minimizes COVID mitigation efforts and speaks of the "dubious practice" of masking.

I do not have background in journalism and am not certain how editorial decisions are made for a column that rotates among editorial staff. I do, however, have formal academic and professional teaching background in ethics and the common good. Lowell's column undermines both. He is fortunate to apparently not be a person who is most at risk if he acquires COVID-19. Unlike people of color, immunocompromised persons, and the elderly, Lowell can choose to expose himself to the virus and not risk severe disease. He is not at risk for reasons beyond his control simply because of who he is.

Yes, he can be "fearless and never give up" as a squirrel. However, the CDC and Minnesota Department of Health have clearly communicated the established reality of asymptomatic spread and a highly contagious variant circulating in our area. Lowell's choice, as the choice of each community member, affects the whole. Lowell's choice to "live risky" profoundly affects the lives of others with no such choice.

Abiding by mitigation instructions is not a matter of personal health and individual liberties. It is a matter of public health and the common good. Echo Press, Anderson's opinion is not one among many to be considered, particularly in a time of global health crisis. Please stop giving a platform to staff writings that undermine public health and the common good.


Rita Koll

Alexandria, MN

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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