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COVID-19

Help ensure local museums stay open

It will take some time for us all to get used to the “new normal” after the COVID-19 epidemic. One aspect of our lives that should not change — but could — is the variety of museums that educate and entertain us.

Throughout the world, most museums had to close during the height of the pandemic. Financial pressure means that nearly 13% of them may never reopen, UNESCO and the International Council of Museums estimate.

The most likely victims are the small, specialized, local museums in many of their communities. Without the big endowments and donor bases enjoyed by larger establishments, the less prosperous ones may not recover from COVID-19.

There are tons of them, right here in our communities. Make it a point, then, to help ensure they can remain open. Summer is a great time to visit them and, perhaps through a donation or a reasonably priced ticket, inoculate them against closure.

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In some respects, COVID-19 may seem like a bad dream for many Americans, even though it has is far from stamped out in our country. One aspect of recovery — placing blame — already is well along.

But recriminations that were common during the height of the epidemic are trailing off. That should not happen. Learning what went wrong — more particularly, who was asleep at the switch during the pandemic’s early days — needs to continue.

We have known for some time that the World Health Organization failed badly. WHO officials waited until COVID-19 had begun spreading out of China to declare a global health emergency. By then, such a warning was too late.

And during the first several weeks of the outbreak in China, WHO insisted COVID-19 was not as communicable as normal influenza. We learned quickly that was terribly wrong.

Investigations of what could have been done better are imperative. But no more needs to be known to conclude that WHO simply cannot be relied upon in the future.

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