Do you remember polio, or know anyone who ever had it? Chances are that if you’re under 70, polio falls in the category of Spanish flu, black plague and other “ancient” scourges. But I grew up when the vaccines for it were first developed and have two disabled friends for whom the vaccine was too late. It is now all but wiped from the face of the earth thanks to the pursuit of science, the resulting vaccines, and public health measures once welcomed as life- and limb-saving by the general public. Then there are mandated vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella, saving millions from heartache.

So what are we to make of the March Anchor, which featured the heartwarming story of a 10-year-old cancer survivor on Page 1, while on Page 2, we read that Alison Hawkes chose to move to Florida to escape “ridiculous” COVID-19 restrictions?

We knew a family that had a child undergoing chemo at age 5. His parents held their breath for 18 months as he went to school, since even a case of measles could have been a death sentence. For a young cancer patient’s family, worrying about COVID must be a nightmare.

In the immortal words of Mr. Spock, there are times that “The needs of the many outweigh the needs (inconvenience) of the few.” This is what public health means. The trivial risk of getting COVID shots and the marginal inconvenience of wearing masks protect not only those who get and use them, but also the countless immunocompromised among us, as well as those too young for shots.

Then there is long COVID, now known, even in mild cases, to adversely affect the circulatory system even worse than smoking or obesity.

Please wear masks as requested and get shots.

Everett Sinnett, Rockville, Maryland and Bailey Island