Today’s DR front page (June 2) shows young folks who are not masked or socially distanced. Other articles showed adults in three group photos doing no better.

Our other paper, the Wall Street Journal, has a section today, "Values Aren’t Optional." It poses, "What do we keep from our heritage that still serves us well?" And "Even worse that having poor values is sending a double message of ‘this is good for everyone else, but we’re special’…."

The WSJ’s focus is money management but applies more broadly. It affirms how values inculcated long ago influence who I am as spouse, dad, friend, doctor, community member.

I thought back to the DR’s photos.

I’ve not driven once in 52-plus years without seatbelt. Not once have I benefited from those seatbelts. But my good fortune doesn’t mean that cautious behavior was "unnecessary."

Before dermatology, I was a CDC epidemiologist in its pre-political era. I did an immunology fellowship after residency. I’m saddened that thousands have died because our country dismantled preparations put in place to prepare for diseases such as H1N1, MERS, and SARS and Ebola. And that our leaders failed to do what other advanced countries have done to reduce deaths in their populations. But, those horses are out of the barn.

Now, we are beginning to venture out into a minefield with no sensors to protect us. Masks and distancing are the best we can do. But those measures help only if there is shared trust and respect within our community.

Violations of basic virus safety endanger others more than do drivers without seatbelts or motorcyclists without helmets ("kidney donors," in medical lingo). It is like abolishing drunk driving laws and regulation of trucks’ brakes, then asking me to drive on the interstate.

Our economy needs us to get back into the swing of things as best we can. It hurts businesses and those who need jobs if many of us are held back by the machismo of others. And it hurts our kids if the grown-ups they see don’t manifest decency and common sense.

Jay Klemme

Wooster