Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., was quoted in the March 19 front-page article “18-month virus siege” as saying, “The American public is on wartime footing in terms of battling the spread of this disease.” If we are at war against the coronavirus, then perhaps a significant amount of government dollars spent on bombs, missiles and military warcraft can now be diverted to hospitals, personal protective equipment (PPE), COVID-19 testing and vaccines.

Freed up from building bombs and destructive weapons, our “wartime” resources could be used to provide universal health care. Said American public would have quick and affordable access to testing and care instead of being told to “just stay home if you have symptoms.” How is it that China and South Korea were able to test their citizens and the United States, the country of “Make America great,” doesn’t have enough tests? How is it that hospital medical personnel do not have enough PPE to care for patients?

Let’s battle COVID-19 and stop killing humans. The coronavirus is bringing us together, showing us that we truly are all in this life together.

Mary E. Berg, Apple Valley

• • •

Everyone in my age bracket remembers President John F. Kennedy’s intelligent, calm address during the Cuban missile crisis. Imagine if JFK had said, “The Russians are building a nasty missile site in Cuba. We’re looking at it very strongly. It is totally under control. The stock market is doing great. Many people say I’m doing the best job. The missiles might disappear like a miracle. Or maybe they won’t, but that’s OK. I take no responsibility. We’ll see.”

Go back and read the text of Kennedy’s speech! Contrast it with the word salad that regularly comes out of President Donald Trump’s mouth. What if, in his address to the nation after 9/11, President George W. Bush had complained that no one thanked him for not being as rich as he could be? Trump did that at a COVID briefing. We have never had a president like him. He’s putting our families and loved ones in danger. It’s not going to end well unless we demand a change. More Dr. Anthony Fauci. Less Trump.

And please don’t give me the “what about?” excuse. It doesn’t matter if you spot some commentator or legislator doing what you think is the same thing. They are not in charge! The president is. It is not being political to point that out. We’re all on this plane together. In the face of the biggest crisis since World War II, it’s our duty to demand clear-thinking leadership. Don’t be afraid to speak truth to power.

Dan Woll, River Falls, Wis.

• • •

Regional outbreaks get seeded or perpetuated by visitors or returning visitors from other regions. Reduce the number of visitors from other regions and there will fewer new hotspots to deal with.

The easiest way to greatly reduce the number of visitors from other regions is to make flying next to impossible. And I am not only talking about blocking flights from China or Italy. I am talking about blocking flights from Chicago to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport or New York to MSP, etc. All flights to and from MSP, actually.

Yes, people may still drive from Chicago or New York to Minnesota (if allowed), but driving is a lot harder than flying and the number of visitors will drop dramatically.

By banning or severely limiting flying now (by closing all airports) and then implementing testing of all passengers pre-flight, if and when we have that capability, we break the regional network linkages and essentially cut off the possibility of transmission across regions.

Bad for airlines. Bad for airports. Good for society.

Neil Crocker, Eden Prairie

• • •

A month ago, knowing that the Chinese government was not transparent, Trump praised President Xi Jinping for doing a good job in combating COVID-19 and claimed that everything was under control. By saying that, Trump misled Americans to falsely believe that they should feel relieved. They should not.

When the U.S. plunged into this pandemic, the Chinese government seized the opportunity to throw the burden of accountability to the U.S., claiming that it was the U.S. soldiers that had caused the spread of the virus. Trump was infuriated. He switched to a hawkish stance, calling it “Chinese virus.” All of a sudden, nationalism and anti-Americanism are on the rise in China. False stories about how the U.S. soldiers and their labs spread the virus go viral on Chinese social media. The Chinese government has successfully reshaped the narrative and deflected public attention. Whereas in the U.S., Chinese and Chinese-Americans are hurt by racism, and numbers of affected cases explode. America is in a national emergency.

Trump had naively believed that, if he scratched Xi’s back, China would keep promises to carry out the trade agreement, which will make his economic picture look good for re-election. He should have known that his good friend in Beijing was in an eyebrows-on-fire situation, dealing with deteriorating public trust and the drastic economic downslide.

China will not be able to make the additional $200 billion purchase of U.S. goods even if it intends to. The outburst of COVID-19 hit China’s economy, which has already shown signs of decline, hard.

Dealing with the authoritarian regime on the public health crisis, Trump should have stuck to the principles of social justice, being firm with China for truth, alerting Americans to the contagion and preparing the U.S. for comprehensive self-defense.

Now, Trump must be biting his tongue in the Oval Office. Switching back and forth his stance toward China, he only shows the fact that he treated this pandemic lightly. It is not too late for Trump to draw the line of principles. In running the presidency and for re-election, economy matters, and democracy matters more.

Honglian Yang, Haikou, China

The writer recently graduated from Hamline University with a doctoral degree in public administration.

• • •

I think the amount of corporate payment in the stimulus bill should be a percent of the taxes the companies paid in 2019.

Anthony Tigges, Alexandria, Minn.

• • •

Thanks to the Star Tribune for adding a footnote to the travel article “Getting away from it all” (March 22) discouraging travel at this point. The Twin Cities are Minnesota’s epicenter for the virus, and encouraging residents to escape the city and travel to other parts of the state was irresponsible. Duluth is not (yet) seeing the number of coronavirus cases as other parts of the state, and we would surely like to keep it that way. Thank you.

Nicholas Massa, Duluth, Minn.

• • •

With relief and joy, I read on Monday how Minnesotans are pulling together to supply protective gear and equipment desperately needed in our unprecedented COVID-19 crisis (“Minnesotans hustling to deliver masks,” March 23). This ranges from individuals in their homes to small businesses like Treadle Yard Goods to nonprofits to globally based corporations like 3M.

I am grateful to Gov. Tim Walz for his cooperative spirit and optimism for winning. He brings valuable skills to his tool kit from his experience coaching high football: helping us to set aside ideological minefields and find both will and means to carry this ball together to the finish line.

Ellen Luepker, Minneapolis

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