That was one eye-opening photo in the Sept. 1 issue of the Star Tribune, showing Chinese students lined up in school uniforms and sitting on chairs close together and without masks. The information accompanying the photo stated that this school, in Wuhan, has opened and that there have been two weeks without local transmission of COVID-19 in China.

In the U.S., many of our schools have to be opened virtually in an attempt to stem COVID, which is wildly out of control. Our students are being shortchanged, and our nation will pay the cost in the loss of a highly educated workforce.

Look at what we have unnecessarily lost from the destruction of our economy. We see permanent closure of businesses, a completely demolished travel industry and decimated revenues to support human services and community infrastructure. Keep in mind the unpaid housing costs that are mounting and the rising food insecurity.

There is no doubt that the safety of our nation is in jeopardy. The current presidential administration had every opportunity to keep our nation safe. The truth is that it did not do so.

Kathryn Iverson, Edina

• • •

To President Donald Trump: I understand that you are considering a “herd immunity” strategy as put forth by Dr. Scott Atlas, one of your pandemic advisers (Star Tribune, Sept. 1). Like the “chickenpox” parties of my childhood, the idea is that everyone gets exposed to this darn virus, builds up immunity, and we can get on with life. Simple as that. All I can say is: “You first.”

Martha Wegner, St. Paul

Opinion editor’s note: On Tuesday, Atlas disputed news reports on the subject.

• • •

At a watershed moment in public health, those working on the front lines need all the help they can get, including public support. It appears that Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has little interest in giving that support.

In a recent interview on the “10 Questions With Kyle Brandt” podcast, Cousins stated he had a “peace” about contracting COVID-19, as well as about dying from it. For him, he is willing to “let nature do its course,” taking a “survival-of-the-­fittest … approach.” These problematic statements make light of the 185,000-plus COVID-19 deaths and the suffering of the families that have lost loved ones to the virus. His willingness to kowtow to COVID-19 if he were to get the virus is akin to taking a sack instead of throwing the ball out of bounds or trying to make a play.

If Cousins really believed in a “survival-of-the-fittest” approach, as he claimed in his interview, then he would not have had corrective eye surgery in 2014, and he would not have supported his wife’s emergency surgery this past February. As he stated then, “life is precious.” Right now, medical and public health workers are taking that approach to treat life as precious, diligently working to prevent the virus from getting worse. It is time for public figures like Mr. Cousins to step up and support their efforts, not ignore and undermine them.

Brian A. Smith, Red Wing


Don’t make mistake of putting insurance renewal on autopilot

The cost of demolition of burned-out buildings along Lake Street is only part of the story (“Big bids stun property owners,” Aug. 31). Sadly, more is probably yet to come.

My late father and his late business partner owned and managed a commercial retail building in Minneapolis for more than 30 years. When the second generation took over management of the company, we had no idea how much insurance we should have. Our fathers’ insurance had been renewing on autopilot, so we hired a risk management consultant. What an education!

Our demolition coverage was much too low. We also learned that we needed code upgrade coverage, because the replacement building would cost more to meet current code requirements. We also needed significantly more business interruption coverage — we had only six months’ worth. We needed at least 18 months to allow for an architect to prepare plans, bid construction, actually do the construction and then rent up the building again. While all this is going on, taxes, insurance and other expenses would need to be covered in addition to lost income to the ownership. Covering all of this didn’t cost much more.

Insurance companies and their agents play an important role in keeping small businesses afloat in the face of catastrophic damage. Insurance that falls short of providing what is currently needed to truly recover isn’t really doing its job. Recovery costs are specific to each business and change over time. Insurance renewal on autopilot doesn’t cut it.

Robert Sykes, Hopkins


Here’s what’s relevant: Winning

Stephen L. Carter well captures the essence of NBA and NFL owners’ objectives — “they’re trying to position themselves to maximize profit.” (“NBA realizes racism is, well, bad for business,” Opinion Exchange, Sept. 1.)

In order to maximize profit, an owner’s team must be a winner. Players on the courts and fields are the best available to the owner. As Carter states, “There is no hypocrisy. It’s just business.”

The professional sports world epitomizes equal opportunity. Race and ethnicity are irrelevant. Competence and contribution are paramount. Call the owners woke.

Gene Delaune, New Brighton


Next best thing to being there

Thank you for the wonderful series “Scenes from the fair” (Variety section, starting Aug. 28). It’s fun and beautifully done. I’ve looked forward every day to see what’s next.

Sharon Soike, Golden Valley

• • •

A grandstand-sized thank you to all at the Star Tribune for your creative powers of celebration.

Nuri Ducassi’s incredible poster art on the last page of the Variety section inspired me Wednesday. The headline “Peace, love and sliding” says it all. (Do you think you could manage a scratch-’n’-sniff?)

Andrea Bolger, Minneapolis