I sure wish we could deal with this virus, and a lot of other idiotic risks, with a “do not assist” type of waiver. Sure, go fish on that thin ice as long as you sign a waiver that no one needs to try to rescue you or save you if you fall through. Go ahead and kayak over Minnehaha Falls with the understanding that if you get hurt, no one will help; if you die, we will just let your body float downstream. No one else needs to risk their life to save you from your own stupidity.
However, this virus doesn’t work that way. You want to take the risk to “get on with our lives,” as state Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka recently tweeted, and get the economy running. But in this pandemic, personal actions do not only risk your personal health. You are risking other people’s lives — like your family members, your co-workers, your customers, our first responders, our health care workers, our grocery store clerks, your barber, your waiter and anyone else in a restaurant, plus a multitude of total strangers who may touch the same gas pump, ride the same bus, push the same exit door, use the same gym equipment, choose the same button on the elevator, etc.
Rather than demanding to see the raw data and argue about line 174 of some computer code like some of our politicians, I’m willing to trust the infectious disease experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mayo Clinic, and the Public Health Service who have spent their lives studying these issues. They seem to be constantly modifying their projections as further data is available. We all want to “get on with our lives,” but we have to be alive to do that.
Rochelle Eastman, Savage
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Our great governor needs to stick a toe in the water of getting things back to normal. It seems that all he is doing is trying to out-safe other governors with extended restrictions. Why? He’s totally adverse to any risk. That’s not leadership or courage, it’s just mimicking others. So, I’ve yet to hear what his endgame is. Shut down forever? 180 days? What? We need to get back to work before it’s too late to recover, and we are getting close to real disaster.
Gregg Anderson, Minnetonka
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We accept speed limits, building codes, food inspection standards, air and water quality control and laws regulating all sorts of our behavior. Why do some revolt against Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home standards designed to prevent us from being ravaged by COVID-19? No one is exactly sure where the bright line is between the suppression of our economy and saving lives, but why not err on the side of caution?
Jeff Janacek, Stillwater
Virus eats at other businesses, too
Businesses specifically covered by Gov. Tim Walz’s executive orders are allowed to delay the payment of their Minnesota sales tax. However, there are thousands of other businesses in Minnesota that are experiencing equal, if not greater, financial hardship due to the coronavirus outbreak and as a result of those other businesses being shut down. All businesses need the same sales tax allowances and forgiveness, regardless of whether they are specifically called out in the governor’s executive orders.
Ralph Bernstein, Minneapolis
The writer is a small-business owner.
Fellow voters, research this race
In defending U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar from criticism leveled at her from Antone Melton-Meaux, her Democratic opponent in the Minnesota Fifth District House race, an Omar surrogate claims that Melton-Meaux “devotes scant attention to his [own] qualifications” (“Her challenger is unconvincing,” Readers Write, April 9). When I visited his website I personally found his qualifications impressive and his positions sound. I urge my fellow Fifth District voters to check it out.
But maybe the letter writer is advocating for a more extensive profile of Melton-Meaux by the Star Tribune? An excellent idea! Then, in the interest of balance the Star Tribune can offer Omar herself (i.e., not her surrogates) an opportunity to address some of the troubling issues that continue to swirl around her short tenure in office.
Steve McCauley, Minneapolis
It’s pretty nice out here
I’m not sure what school urbanists attend but a recent counterpoint author apparently never learned that suburban people don’t have to spend “hundreds of hours every year behind the wheel just to manage routine trips” (“Fear won’t obstruct march toward urban solutions,” Opinion Exchange, April 9). My suburban wife and I live less than five miles from our workplaces. Grocery, department and home improvement stores are the same distance away along with restaurants, churches, parks, golf courses and hospitals.
Our “socially engineered cul-de-sac” yard is hardly a monoculture as the writer claims; rather we have flower and vegetable gardens, trees and shrubs, with birdhouses and feeders to accommodate the wildlife that lives here. Our racist and prejudiced neighborhood has been home to Kenyan, Bosnian and Hmong neighbors while our local school district lists the number of languages other than English spoken at home at 121.
We are not surrounded by millions of tons of concrete nor do we have many buildings over three stories tall, but we can see the sun rise and set and go to sleep in the summer listening to crickets, frogs and toads.
Tom Anderson, Coon Rapids
NO SUMMER SPORTS
Why not re-evaluate as we go?
Recently the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board decided to close all city parks and prohibit competitive contact sports through the entire summer. No soccer, no baseball, no softball. In a follow-up statement, the board stated it is only following Minnesota Department of Health guidelines. However, if you read those guidelines, nowhere does it state anything about what must be done in May, June, July or August regarding sports and the risk of COVID-19. Also, if you review the websites of the park boards of St. Paul, Woodbury, Edina, many other cities and, get this, even New York City, none of these boards has made any absolute decisions regarding competitive contact sports for the summer. Furthermore, Dr. Anthony Fauci just stated that he can see scenarios where sports such as baseball will be allowed and safe this summer.
The models regarding the future of COVID-19 are changing almost daily, it seems, and almost all the changes have been positive. To my knowledge, Minneapolis is the only city’s Park Board that has chosen the worst of the models to base its policy on. Every other board I have looked at, as well as our own MDH, has chosen to make decisions on a weekly or monthly basis. I ask the Minneapolis Park Board to review and change its policy, begin to evaluate summer sports on a monthly basis, and tell the youth of our city that it will be more than happy to start painting the lines, putting up the nets and baskets, and cleaning the dugouts as soon the MDH and state and national governments say we can, be that in May, or June, or July.
And if it evolves that it will not be safe to play this summer, well, at least we were willing to try. If the board feels it would not have the manpower to do so on short notice, I think there are about 1,000 soccer and baseball players and parents who would be glad to help.
Dave Eenigenburg, Minneapolis
The writer is a physician.
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