In his Sept. 16 op-ed, “Impatience doesn’t grant presidents extra power,” George F. Will took Leana S. Wen to task for advocating proof of coronavirus vaccination to travel. It was clear from the context of her statements that Dr. Wen was referring to travel by publicly regulated shared transport (planes, trains, buses, etc.), where a traveler could infect others with the coronavirus, possibly making them seriously ill or spreading the disease in the larger population. Nobody wants the federal government to stop people from crossing state lines on foot or in a private auto. Travel by regulated shared transportation, however, must be regarded as a privilege. On an airplane, you cannot smoke, you cannot carry a gun, you cannot even stand up to go to the restroom if the pilot or a flight attendant says that you must remain in your seat. These restrictions protect the health and safety of crew members and other passengers.

More generally, constitutional rights can be restricted when they impinge on the rights of others. And, as conservatives repeatedly tell us, enforcing the right to security for its citizens is the government’s top responsibility.

Jerome Puskin, Potomac