In times like these, we need to take thoughtful actions based on what we know about COVID-19 from the experts. But we should also never forget that we are one nation under God, and we should pray during uncertain times.
Pray for our leaders: the president, Congress, our governor and legislators. Ask God to provide wisdom for these difficult decisions. Pray for our medical caregivers, for their health and safety as they care for us. Pray for our small-business owners and entrepreneurs forced to close their businesses to stop the spread of the virus who are hanging by a thread. Pray for the employees who face unexpected hard times, that support and generosity will come to them.
Pray for the seniors and disabled who are shut in due to social distancing. While we may be physically distant, keep them close in prayer. Pray for the children home from school who don’t understand why we’re taking these measures. Pray for the high-risk population to be protected from the virus and carriers. Pray for whoever else needs it.
I am reminded of my favorite proverb, Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge God, and He will direct your path.”
In troubled times, may we listen to the experts and pray for God’s direction. We will get through this more united, more compassionate and stronger in our faith. May God continue to bless America and shed his grace on us.
Sen. Paul Gazelka, East Gull Lake, Minn.
The writer is Minnesota Senate majority leader.
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The community is concerned about those who are at an elevated risk of dying from COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Researchers and media regularly assert that the virus is disproportionately affecting the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions — a true statement based on data from the Chinese version of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
One group routinely excluded from epidemiological discourse are undocumented immigrants, comprising roughly 2% of Minnesota’s population. The majority are working Mexican immigrants earning less than 200% of the federal poverty level in hourly jobs difficult to step away from (manufacturing, food services, health services, etc.), and almost half (46%) are uninsured — a rate almost eightfold higher than Minnesota at large (6%).
Age and underlying illness may ultimately pale as prognostic factors in comparison to barriers to receiving health care. In addition to the obvious financial barriers, experts believe that fear related to the public charge rule and Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests will reduce the likelihood that undocumented immigrants seek necessary care in the coming weeks.
In order to prevent a disproportionate and tragic number of deaths in the undocumented community, it is our duty as Minnesotans to make sure our neighbors feel safe accessing health care. Two important updates need to be amplified in the undocumented community: First, it was announced this week that the public charge criteria will not apply to those seeking coronavirus-related care, meaning immigrants will not be penalized when applying for naturalization. Second, ICE has temporarily reduced its focus to individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds, and will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities.
Arman Shahriar, Minneapolis
The writer is a medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
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When Republicans rushed to give tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy in 2017, adding $1.5 trillion to our national debt, economists argued that economic stimulus on top of a healthy economy was folly, and should be reserved for times of recession or emergency. Ignoring the warnings, they pushed ahead. We know now that corporations used the savings largely for stock buybacks and executive compensation, and the wealthy were simply made wealthier. Any economic benefits were temporary and fleeting.
Now when we have a real emergency and a threatening recession, those trillions are gone, and we must put trillions more on the nation’s credit card to once again come to the aid of many of those same corporations.
Dave Pederson, Minnetrista
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As we witness the fears of individuals and small businesses during this very uncertain time and try to support them, let us not forget the mental health nonprofits. While our mental health system has never been fully built, mental health nonprofits continue to serve an essential role in our state by advocating for resources that continue to improve our mental health system.
Organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota also fill gaps in our system by providing needed education and support for patients and families as well as essential suicide prevention work. NAMI staff are currently working hard to make their support accessible to people through use of technology, while we are all trying to physically distance. Go to namimn.org for help for yourself or others you are close to who are feeling stressed or anxious with this viral emergency. Good mental health can help us have healthier behaviors and coping.
And please remember that these support organizations will be badly hurt financially by this current situation. Donate if you can. Our community cannot afford to lose these resources.
Carrie Borchardt, Apple Valley
The writer is president of the board of NAMI Minnesota.
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A reader wrote in the March 20 letters to the editor section that Steve Sack’s cartoon of the previous day was “taking shots at leaders faced with complex national emergency issues” as well as displaying “petty political bias.”
By any objective measurement, Sack was doing neither.
The cartoon displayed the dizzying effects of the easily verifiable barrage of constant lies, half-truths, misinformation, ignorance, false information and trivialization (coupled with the likewise constant berating of the media working diligently to find and report the truth) being served up daily by the president.
That is what the cartoon said. And it said it well.
Mark R. Nordling, Estero, Fla.
Fill it out, but check the domain
The U.S. Census Bureau has had 10 years to prepare for the census. I received my letter yesterday with the website and census ID for getting counted. I went to my computer today, opened up Google Chrome, and started typing in the website. Chrome gave me a list to click on to complete the website access. There was a website higher on the list than the desired my2020census.gov! What do you think would happen if I went to the higher-ranked choice, my2020census.g0v? It’s probably a real secure place to share my personal information.
So, I have two questions: Why didn’t the Census Bureau acquire all the look-alike web addresses that bad actors could use? Why does Google cooperate by listing the .g0v site ahead of the secure .gov site? How much did they get paid?
Filling out the census form was easy but accessing the census form appears to be dangerous.
Diane Rosenwald, Plymouth
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