In recent days, President Donald Trump has taken some serious measures to deal with the coronavirus. But Trump took several weeks to admit the gravity of the situation and to initiate those measures since the first known case of the virus in the United States was reported on Jan. 21.

Trump has made several statements that led many to think the virus wasn’t dangerous. He said the virus was contained in America when it wasn’t. He said “one day ... like a miracle, it will disappear.” And he told us that we had “shut it down” when all the while it was spreading.

It appears that Trump ignored many warnings of the danger and urgency of the situation and intentionally chose to downplay the threat. If so, then that was incredibly deceitful and reprehensible.

A crisis like the one we’re now experiencing shows how crucial it is to have leaders we can trust.

Mark O’Neill, St. Michael, Minn.

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Could there ever be a time for this president when it is not OK to insult his political rivals and scapegoat an entire nation?

At Wednesday’s news conference, Trump began by citing “the Chinese virus,” and later referred to “Sleepy Joe Biden.” So, apparently not yet, not when more than 200 Americans have died. Maybe next week, when the death count will likely be higher? Or next month?

I plan to practice social distancing for the foreseeable future, but when it comes to the question of this president ever practicing a shred of decency, I will not hold my breath.

Timothy Hennum, Minneapolis

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A way out of our COVID-19 quarantines: testing, testing, testing. It occurs to me that we need to look at ways to speed up our eventual recovery from this crisis. We need to make enough tests that we can test basically everyone in our state (twice if needed). This has been done in the Italian town that reported its first case, with the result of eliminating new cases. Then, those who test negative could return to work and we could reopen our theaters and restaurants. Testing is the key to control. Of course, this would likely require that new tests that yield faster results are available (which are under development). We need to create plans for the way out of this.

Marty Alterman, Burnsville

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Here is our suggestion for what to do during these trying times: Schedule a virtual dinner with friends or relatives. Contact the party with whom you would like to dine, pick a time, set up your electronic device across the dinner table while your dinner “guests” do the same on their end. Set up a Skype or FaceTime connection, then proceed to eat whatever is on your menu while the guests do the same at their location. Super simple, practical, beneficial and fun!

Reed Wahlberg, Wayzata

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I wonder if our omniscient city planners are rethinking their desire to have us all live in beehives with shared heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and commute to work packed like sardines on mass transit. What about their decision to ban drive-through windows for food and beverages? They probably will say, “We never anticipated anything like this!” — which is exactly my point. In fact, a lot of people predicted something precisely like this, but the planners chose to ignore them.

Bryan E. Dowd, Minneapolis

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So many small businesses will be affected by COVID-19. We need to do all we can to support them. But why is the president talking about bailing out the cruise industry? Most cruise ships are registered in any number of non-U.S. nations. The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission has no authority over vessel operation, wages, safety standards or fare levels on those cruise lines. The “most” American company, Disney, registers its ships in the Bahamas. In 2010, Royal Caribbean collected $6.8 billion but paid no U.S. federal income taxes because its ships are flagged in the Bahamas and Liberia. Let’s keep the talk of bailouts in perspective as we seek to help those who are truly in need.

Stephanie Wolkin, White Bear Lake

• • •

For years now, probably decades, many of us have been thinking something along the lines of, “I’ve got to get out of this somehow.”

We’ve made various half-baked attempts to do so. Moving to the country. Quitting. Retiring early. Going part-time. Eating better. Postponing college.

Over the next month, we’ll have an enforced chance to take this thought seriously. Let’s not squander it.

Erik Belgum, Shafer, Minn.

• • •

A sad but heartfelt thank you to Mayor Jacob Frey for making the difficult decision to close bars and restaurants (except for delivery/drive-up/takeout). Between Hell’s Kitchen and Angel Food Bakery, we were forced to lay off all 157 employees, but the city has my full support on this decision because we have to clamp down the spread of this coronavirus. Psst: Locally owned independents need your support now more than ever, so find your favorite places online, buy a few gift cardss and make a reservation for a future date so everyone can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Cynthia Gerdes, Minneapolis

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Gov. Tim Walz: I cannot let this moment pass without letting you know how I was impacted by your call to action for teachers. As a 25-year elementary teacher, your well-chosen words were a balm to my tired teaching soul. It has been a very long time since I have listened to an elected official say he/she believes in teachers. Your words of confidence in our ability, strength and passion to meet the challenges ahead simply because we are educators made me feel empowered. Thank you for trusting us to fulfill our mission to provide all students the education they need and deserve no matter what. We will not disappoint. Best wishes to you for continued health and strength as you lead our state through this extraordinary time.

Susan M. Sperstad, Little Falls, Minn.


Within structure of laws, it works

The term “unbridled capitalism” is nonsense. Capitalism can’t exist without a strong justice system. There must be laws, police and courts to enforce contracts for a free market to exist. Rent seeking or bribing government officials to buy unfair advantage over your competitor is the result of bad laws or bad enforcement. When privately owned companies compete to best serve the consumer under properly enforced, good laws, then wealth increases rapidly. When government hands out money, then lobbying firms multiply and the swamp gets bigger.

It is difficult to keep a capitalist system working properly. The wealthy are always trying to buy special favors from government officials. When they succeed, blame corrupt government officials, not capitalism.

John O’Neill, Minneapolis


Good for Tulsi. Now, Bernie.

Congratulations to U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard on ending her Democratic presidential campaign for the party’s nomination and endorsing Democratic front-runner Joe Biden. Gabbard’s campaign was kind of strange and iffy and she ended up being a fringe candidate, and she realized that keeping a fruitless campaign going in the midst of a viral pandemic was not the best idea.

Democrats need to come together immediately to defeat Republican incumbent President Donald Trump. Now, if only Sen. Bernie Sanders can do the same.

William Cory Labovitch, South St. Paul



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