It’s time for the governor’s office to mandate as a condition of businesses remaining open that all workers be provided a face mask by their employer. Our essential businesses such as food processing are shutting down because these businesses refused to provide or delayed providing their employees with this protection (“Meat workers push for better protections,” front page, April 24). Many large and financially successful businesses are putting a disproportionate burden on the lower-income employees while upper management has the privilege of working from the safety of their homes.

With privilege comes a corresponding responsibility, but if businesses will not step up to their moral and legal duty of protecting their workers, then it is the government’s duty to step in.

Janet Robert, Wayzata

• • •

How sad to see Vice President Mike Pence fly into Minnesota on Tuesday to make a Mayo Clinic visit regarding the coronavirus without wearing a mask when he got off the plane and greeted Gov. Tim Walz (“Mike Pence praises Minnesota but skips mask on Mayo visit,” StarTribune.com, April 28). Walz has done such a fine job of leading our state through this crisis, and he follows the rules himself, so he was wearing a mask when he greeted the vice president. The courtesy is to wear a mask to protect others from any germs you might have.

The fact that the vice president encounters many people on a daily basis leads me to believe he would be kind to wear a mask to protect others from himself. It is unfortunate that the vice president does not follow this consideration.

BARBARA J. NELSON, Sartell, Minn.

OPIOIDS

The pandemic only adds to this crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many things. It has not disrupted the opioid epidemic. Minnesota’s Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program keeps real-time statistics on overdoses and shows that, this week, overdoses may be exceeding their pre-COVID pace. Further, there are concerns that the drug use situation in Minnesota could get worse.

COVID-19 is increasing stress levels, which contributes to drug use. Combine this with social distancing and the risk of overdose is increased, since most overdoses occur when people use drugs in isolation. Therefore, treatment and prevention remain as relevant as ever.

Another consequence of COVID-19 is the disruption of the illicit drug supply chain; most illicit fentanyl precursors come from Wuhan, China, the now famous original COVID-19 hot spot. Consequently, Minneapolis police report a two- to fourfold increase in the price of illicit drugs since COVID-19. Combined with mass unemployment, many drug users can neither find nor afford the drugs they were once using. As a result, treatment demand may be increasing. As it does, hospitals and treatment centers must be ready to respond to the additional demand. Unfortunately, most health care systems, hospitals and treatment centers have made the difficult decision to temporarily furlough staff, including addiction experts. It is imperative that these systems receive the financial support necessary to meet emergent addiction needs.

We must press our local, state and federal leaders to support addiction treatment and prevention efforts lest we let a pandemic overshadow an existing epidemic.

Gavin Bart, Hopkins

The writer is an addiction medicine specialist in Minneapolis.

BROADBAND

Internet access is our lifeline now

I have read, or seen, stories of teachers and students in outstate Minnesota doing the best they can with the inconsistent speed or actual lack of internet access. One story described a family driving 10 to 15 miles into town, once or twice a day, for the students to get a decent Wi-Fi signal.

Similarly, the Minnesota legislators are doing the best they can, all of them remotely doing committee work. As a regular observer of the Legislature, I estimate their current efficiency at about 10% compared with normal times.

Could there ever be more compelling reasons for statewide, high-speed internet access that serves all households, businesses and government agencies?

Christopher Born, Minneapolis

SOCIAL DISTANCING

Yes, tennis is now banned. No, it’s not discriminatory.

Tennis is indeed a “sport that requires only a racquet, a can of balls and a pair of shoes,” but Tuesday’s letter writer has forgotten that you have to have an opponent (“Golf is allowed, but tennis isn’t?”). And doubles requires three other players. All of you touch the same balls over and over. And good doubles requires hitting and breathing very close to your partner at times.

As an avid doubles player who plays several times a week at an indoor facility, I understand why fear of contact and aerosol transmission of the virus has shut down indoor and outdoor sports activities — including tennis. I want to get back to smacking those green fuzzies again, too.

But to equate the opening of golf courses, where reasonable distancing practices can be achieved, with a bias against less-moneyed folks who only play tennis outdoors is a tad disingenuous. Save such an attack for true prejudice.

Jim Sanoden, St. Paul

TARA READE

Where are Dems on the allegations?

To date, you can count the number of Democratic politicians who have gone on record regarding Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden on one hand. This is not for lack of opportunity to address the issue. The press has invited members of Congress to weigh in on this issue. These overtures have been met with silence.

Only about 60% of the delegates have been allocated and Biden currently only has 32% of total delegates. In other words, it is not too late for the Democratic Party to do the right thing and prevent an individual credibly accused of sexual assault from obtaining the party’s presidential nomination.

In this context, one must be forgiven for thinking that the continued silence of party luminaries on this issue is a gamble on voters reluctantly settling for a man facing a single assault accusation over Trump, who faces multiple. This is a choice that no citizen should be asked to make.

Brian J. Krause, Minneapolis

• • •

Regarding the story “Klobuchar odds not just a pipe dream” (April 19), how could someone who voted against confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh on grounds of sexual misconduct agree to be the running mate to Joe Biden? It seems like the epitome of double standards. Where is the media outrage?

Scott Schroepfer, Minneapolis

‘WARTIME PRESIDENT’

If he was unfit then, he’s unfit now

President Donald Trump has declared that we are at war with COVID-19, and that he is a wartime president. But wasn’t he deemed unfit to serve during wartime (Vietnam)? Clearly the doctor back then was correct, as he is showing signs of battle fatigue. His off-the-wall musings about injecting disinfectants or other cleaning products as possible treatment for COVID-19 are his latest dangerous suggestions.

America, let’s discharge Trump. He’s battle-weary from fighting off the good sense offered him by experts around him, whether we’re talking about public health, the military, foreign policy, domestic policy or the weather. Come November, let’s send Trump home.

Lisa Wersal, Vadnais Heights

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