Excuse me, but I heard President Joe Biden try to take full credit for COVID control in his speech on Thursday ("Biden vows all adults vaccine-eligible by May 1," front page, March 12). Let's refresh his memory.
1) When former President Donald Trump stopped travel between China and the U.S. over one year ago, Biden called him several not-very-friendly names. Democrats went on the record promoting just the opposite of isolated control by encouraging people to stay active by visiting Chinatown, etc.
2) It was President Trump who got virus protection through the development system in record time, cutting to months the process that normally would take years. President Trump also placed orders for hundreds of millions of vaccine doses from several potential suppliers even before they had an approved vaccine.
3) Biden and Harris received shots during the Trump administration, before they took office.
We can give Biden credit for keeping the "pedal to the metal" for getting doses to the public. We cannot give him credit for developing the vaccines and getting them initially available to the elderly.
Richard Burton, Ramsey
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I want to thank the National Guard and the health care workers profusely for a seamless and well-run vaccine event at the Vikings Performance Center in Mendota. I had all sorts of trepidation and nervousness about getting a vaccine. I was worried about how I would react to it. The folks in the National Guard were caring yet efficient, and I can't thank the nurse enough who brought me water when she could tell I was scared. Several hundred people flowed through the facility but there was no confusion or hesitation. Bravo to the men and women of the Guard who work so hard. They are first-class.
Raleigh Wolpert, Minnetonka
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A year ago the world shut down. 6,500 Minnesotans have lost their lives to the pandemic, thousands lost their jobs and consequences touching everyone persist. All because of a virus from across the world.
The spread of a novel coronavirus from Wuhan, China, to nearly every country on the planet is a testament to the interconnectedness of the modern world. The pandemic is a stark reminder that we cannot afford to ignore global health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts it simply as, "COVID-19 has demonstrated that a disease threat anywhere is a disease threat everywhere."
Worryingly, it does not seem that the U.S. is learning from the spread of COVID-19. Or perhaps it is just Congress. The bipartisan Global Health Security Act would solidify American investments in global health, particularly in response to emerging global health threats. Although the U.S. House passed this legislation in the 116th session, it was never heard in the Senate. Now that the bill has been reintroduced, it is critical to make U.S. commitments permanent by demanding action from our representatives. If not after hundreds of thousands of lives lost, when will we learn that global health matters?
Grace McDonough, St. Paul
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When I heard that President Biden purchased another 200 million vaccine doses (millions more than we need) it brought back memories of the earlier days of the pandemic. I remember seeing people in checkout lines with more toilet paper than they could possibly need while other customers faced empty shelves. It appears hoarding happens at all levels of our society. I would imagine other countries that are struggling to get vaccines would feel the same about the U.S. as the customer at the grocery store felt about the person with a cartload of toilet paper.
Scott Bakken, Cloquet, Minn.
HOME CARE WORKERS
Those who care for us deserve more
I was glad to see that the Star Tribune talked about home care work recently and how important the contract is between union home care workers and the state of Minnesota for so many families just like mine ("Contract offers hope to PCA industry," March 7).
As a client of home care services, I know just why these proposed changes are so critical to families.
There are a lot of people these change would affect. From workers, clients and agencies to the state, we all agree that we need to make real investments in these critical programs so seniors and people with disabilities can get the care we need. I am glad this issue has support from both parties at the Capitol and I am excited to see our elected officials continuing to find common ground on this important issue. Home care workers like the ones who work for me and help care for my family have been a lifeline to thousands of families during this pandemic. They need the higher wages, increased paid time off and the improved training opportunities this contract would bring them so we can make sure everyone gets the care they need. It's time our state shows that we truly value people with disabilities and the folks who care for us.
Darrell Paulsen, Maplewood
LIGHT RAIL PROJECT
The accidentally equitable extension
Thank you, BNSF Railway, for forcing a reroute of the Blue Line extension ("LRT plan better serves N. Mpls.," March 12). Now we'll achieve some racial and economic equity in spite of ourselves.
Clay Gustafson, Minneapolis
Maybe high schoolers are the best curators after all
I read with interest of the custody battle between the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and Minnetonka High School over possession of the ship's wheel from the USS Minnesota and bell from the USS Minneapolis ("Battle heats up over naval artifacts," March 10). Having lived in Uptown Minneapolis since the 1980s, I recall seeing them displayed near the ship's mast on the northeast corner of the lake then known as Lake Calhoun. Last year I learned of their fate from a Southwest Journal article.
Whether the donation of these artifacts to Minnetonka High School by an American Legion representative was legal or not, I think these artifacts are better off at Minnetonka High School than in the hands of the current Park Board. At Minnetonka, the bell is used to celebrate achievements of the students and has a secure indoor storage. The wheel, too, is stored indoors and can be used as a teaching tool. What would be their fate if the Park Board took possession? Restoring them to their former outdoor site at the lake would expose them not only to the weather but to the tender mercies of vandals or thieves.
Two years ago, the restaurant and concession stand a few yards from the USS Minnesota memorial was destroyed in a fire resulting from the careless use of a hookah in the wee hours of a stormy morning. It still has not been rebuilt. I would rather not see historic artifacts placed in this unprotected environment by a feckless, activist Park Board. Unless it can come up with a proposal for properly protecting and honoring these artifacts, I suggest the Park Board leave them in the custody of the high school students.
Donald Wolesky, Minneapolis
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