With the time I spend in homeless shelters and in our work with the homeless, I still see the concentration or density of the living conditions remaining dangerously congested. The shelters and nonprofits are doing the best they can with their current assets, but we fear it isn’t enough or isn’t fast enough. Hennepin County did fund hotel rooms for the most vulnerable in the homeless population, but there remsain hundreds of folks (or a few thousand?) who are all exposed.
That should be of concern for all of us.
When — not if but when — COVID-19 begins to move among our homeless neighbors, not only will it spread rapidly among that population, it will spread even more rapidly among the general population. Homeless folks are very mobile; they have to be. And those people carrying the virus may likely infect many others, as there is no way to “stay at home” if you have no “home.”
So, I would simply urge you to consider offering up your appropriate real estate assets to our state and local government for use and contacting those in leadership with whom you have a relationship, sharing this message and urging them to do the same.
This is a time to get creative. This is a time to support our community. And as business leaders, this is our opportunity to demonstrate what having the heart of a true Minnesotan really looks like.
Richard Bahr, Maple Grove
The writer is a co-founder of Threshold to New Life, a nonprofit working to reduce homelessness in the Twin Cities.
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To help prevent the further spread of coronavirus, the way in which our students attend school is changing. I’ve heard a lot of concerns from parents as schools across Minnesota close and move to the unfamiliar world of online classes. This is a different format from the brick-and-mortar classroom most are used to. As a parent of a student who attends Minnesota Virtual Academy, I want to share some tips on how to adjust.
One of the hardest things to get used to is a new routine. Make sure you and your student are communicating with their teacher and asking questions as they come up. It’s a learning experience all-around and you have to work together to ensure success. At the end of the day, you’re all on the same team aiming for the same goal.
Also know that it’s all right to not be an expert at online learning. It’s an adjustment and you have to take it one day at a time. Have faith in your student to navigate the platforms. After all, they understand the technology more than we do!
I hope that these tips help ease some of the worries people have. By taking it one step at a time, we can make it through this together!
Christina Petsinger, New Richland, Minn.
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There has been much discussion about how we should refer to the coronavirus. I suggest calling it the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Why? CCP officials knew about the virus in early December. Instead of acting responsibly, they spent weeks censoring information, arresting citizen journalists, and punishing and silencing doctors who tried to raise the issue.
Knowing the severity of the virus, the Wuhan city government even hosted a Chinese New Year’s celebration attended by 10,000 families on Jan. 18.
A new study conducted by the University of Southampton in England concluded that if nonpharmaceutical interventions such as travel restrictions and social distancing had been enacted three weeks earlier, the virus infection rate in China could have been reduced by 95%.
On March 12, the deputy director of China’s foreign ministry information department, Zhao Lijian, made the shocking suggestion that the U.S. Army may have brought the virus to Wuhan. On March 19, CCP mouthpiece Xinhua News reported that there were no new cases of the virus in Wuhan, in spite of evidence suggesting otherwise.
Having been born and raised in China, I am not surprised by any of the CCP’s responses to the situation. I am very familiar with its propaganda and how it runs the country. By using the name “CCP virus,” I hope that more people will realize that the Chinese Communist Party put the lives and economic security of the Chinese people and the world at risk. All to protect its image.
Lori Gao, Minneapolis
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Last week we received a postcard in the mail that announced “President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America” on one side, with all the wise safety tips we have been hearing for the past two weeks from people in the know, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci on the national stage and our governor, Tim Walz, and Health Commissioner Jan Malcom in Minnesota. The fact that these guidelines are attributed to Trump is a farce when we remember that not that long ago he was describing COVID-19 as “no big deal” and calling concerns raised by Democrats another hoax.
Mind you, I am not opposed to sending these guidelines out to every American’s mailbox. However, having the name Trump in large print seems like one more way for him to try to look like he is exerting actual leadership as our national election nears, since there is no way that in fact he is responsible for putting these guidelines together. Even now, he is suggesting that we will be able to roll back some of the serious measures taken in just two weeks, against the advice of every person with expertise in the field. And I assume this electioneering postcard went out at taxpayers’ expense.
Arthur Dorman, St. Paul
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During World War II, the Allies needed to add armor to their bomber planes. The problem was they could not add too much armor or else the planes would not fly. They studied the planes that came back from bombing raids and noted where they had damage. After the study, they decided to add more armor to the locations that had seen the least amount of damage. Why? They were studying the planes that survived. Since these planes had returned, they determined that the sustained damage was in noncritical areas. The planes they did not see must have been damaged in the most sensitive locations.
With COVID-19, we are testing the most symptomatic cases. We should take a lesson from WWII and start learning about the COVID-19 cases we do not see. We must test a random population sample to better understand what we are fighting.
Spencer J. Kubo, Minneapolis
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There have been suggestions that we should get back to work as a country, and live with a faster spread of the virus, while protecting the economy. I do recognize that some people may die from conditions related to high unemployment. However, if we were to pursue this advice, you should know how to stay healthy (except for getting COVID-19): Drive safely. Don’t have a heart attack or stroke. Don’t get cancer. Don’t get pregnant. Don’t fall and break your hip. Don’t fall from a ladder or roof. Don’t drink poison. Don’t get appendicitis. Don’t get infections. Don’t get diabetes.
Finally, the number of infected people would be so large that you would have to accept that most of the roughly 10% requiring a ventilator would not have access to a ventilator. So the death rate in this group would be more like 90% instead of the 10% expected if we can flatten the curve.
Chris Jackson, Eagan
The writer is a physician.
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