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Thanks to leaders of Baltimore and Baltimore County for protecting public health | READER COMMENTARY

Baltimore mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young during a photo opportunity to illustrate the city providing PPE supplies to daycare providers at Baltimore Public Safety Training Facility on Thursday, May. 7, 2020.
Baltimore mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young during a photo opportunity to illustrate the city providing PPE supplies to daycare providers at Baltimore Public Safety Training Facility on Thursday, May. 7, 2020. (Karl Merton Ferron/The Baltimore Sun)

I want to share my sincere and deep thanks to both Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. for their strong and brave leadership during this phase of the COVID-19 pandemic (“Gov. Hogan washes his hands of coronavirus decision-making,” May 14). The most important time in both of these leaders’ tenures is at this critical moment. We have seen around the world that countries and regions that end their quarantines prematurely are experiencing resurgences in their virus cases. Both our federal government and now our state government are incorrectly balancing the public health and the economy as somehow equal in order to rush back to better economic times.

Public health must be our first priority right now. In our Baltimore region, thousands of people’s lives depend on correctly balancing these two interests. Once we have enough testing and contact tracing, our governments can start opening up our economies in a safe and responsible way. I know that this approach and my message are hard for people who own and work in small businesses and for those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own due to this devastating virus. I acknowledge that millions and millions of people’s economic lives across our region, our country‚and the world have been shattered. And I completely empathize with their situation.

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However, right now the lives of the most vulnerable citizens in our communities and those of all of us depend on decisions made by our political leaders that are being made today. I want to publicly thank both County Executive Olszewski and Mayor Young for acting bravely at a time when their political courage may have political costs to each of them. This COVID-19 time is a test of leaders. The ones that do what is right regardless of the political consequences are those who deserve our respect at this time.

I live in Baltimore City and want to be clear that I am not endorsing anyone in the mayoral race with this letter. Instead, I am saluting both of Baltimore’s top local leaders for their concern for the health and well-being of their citizens. On behalf of all the citizens in our region, thank you for your courage during this critical time.

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Kathy Shulman, Baltimore

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