As I picked up the Tuesday paper on my stoop, the headlines “State halts public life” and “There’s nowhere to go but home” felt like a punch in the gut. This week (that has felt like a month already) I’ve been guiding the crisis response at my organization that operates an emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness. With those headlines, I felt a new desperation for those who have no home, who are forced to live their life in public. Where will the vulnerable people who ride the train, visit libraries and walk the mall go?
If there is anything that this pandemic has taught me so far, it is that I am grateful to have a home that I can retreat to as my sanctuary from the scary world. It has also further confirmed my conviction that all people deserve a safe place to call home. Our state must prioritize affordable housing and secure safety nets. No one should be forced to live their life in public, without the security of being able to close the door.
Wendy Wiegmann, Minneapolis
The writer is director of programs at Simpson Housing Services.
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I truly believe that in order to get to heaven, you have to forgive everybody everything.
Surely the toilet paper hoarders will keep me standing outside the pearly gates.
William J. Wade, Crystal, Minn.
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In the March 19 editorial “Learn pandemic lessons from abroad,” the Star Tribune Editorial Board repeated the falsehood that President Donald Trump called the coronavirus a “hoax” (“the very public, very wrong, and very dangerous dismissal of the virus as a ‘hoax’ by President Donald Trump”). He never did so — he described the Democrats’ criticism of his dealing with the virus as “their new hoax.” The Editorial Board’s repetition of that falsehood, which has been repeatedly debunked, reflects very poorly on the board’s lack of care in preparing its editorials. Worse, by spreading such blatant factual errors in important situations such as this, the board makes it impossible to rely upon its accuracy in just about any other matter.
Mark Jarboe, Minneapolis
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Whether Trump refers to the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” or its correct name is immaterial to our current situation. Trump will always crawl back to his part of the swamp in order to incite outrage and blame someone else or some other group for anything that looks bad for him.
What does matter is that Trump and his cadre of sycophants willfully ignored and then dismissed the threat of this virus for over two months. He did this because he instinctively dislikes and distrusts science and experts and anyone who challenges him on any subject. It is likely that many deaths and much despair could have been avoided if we had a president who was not such an incompetent fool.
Charles Wurzinger, Coon Rapids
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I have never been a Steve Sack fan but he (and the Star Tribune) hit a new low with his March 19 cartoon. I am always amazed at people who couldn’t lead a group in silent prayer taking shots at leaders faced with complex national emergency issues. This is not the time to publish this type of trash. Save your petty political bias for November if you must.
Richard Cole, Minneapolis
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As I watch my once-healthy stock portfolio plummet, search aimlessly for toilet paper and hand sanitizer (stop hoarding!) and do my best at social distancing, I can’t help but wonder if we are approaching this whole coronavirus thing properly.
The coronavirus apparently comes from a family that causes several strains of common cold. Barring underlying conditions (like my own asthma), the vast majority of people under 65-75 will come through this. This virus is different because it is new, so no one has ever had it and built up antibodies to fight it.
Rather than destroying our economy and shutting the country down, perhaps we should have simply isolated those who were most at risk and let the virus run through the rest of the population to build our defenses for an eventual — probably inevitable — repeat. I’m not saying we’re overreacting to this threat, just that it seems like we have reacted far less to far worse threats. What makes this bug so bad that we shut down this country, whereas previous, far deadlier bugs barely made the news? I don’t ask that to be snarky or belligerent. It’s an honest question.
Seems like other than people like myself, those at the highest risk are near or at retirement age. It would have been cheaper to flatten the curve by paying those at risk to retire if they hadn’t already and pay the rest of us at high risk to stay home rather than to destroy the nation’s entire economy for potentially years to come. Life could have gone on as usual for a great portion of the country while those of us at risk could have sat it out, which many have the luxury to do anyway since they were already retired.
John Morgan, Burnsville
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As someone at high risk who had recently traveled and was symptomatic, I was relieved to learn I could get a COVID-19 test. I was told that it would take 48 hours to get the results. On Wednesday, 48 hours later, I was told that it would now be one to two weeks before the results would be in. I am outraged that our country would refuse testing kits from the World Health Organization because they didn’t meet our standards, despite working out just fine for other countries. Now after four weeks we still do not have adequate testing for this pandemic.
People think we need small government until we need our government. We have had an inadequate and disorganized response to this emergency because our president believed he alone could do it. I, for one, am grateful for our state government and the leadership it has provided. Too bad they are not getting the support they need from the federal government.
Carol Keymer, Plymouth
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OK, so some of us might get a $1,000 check from Uncle Sam that we don’t really need. Just because you get it doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Imagine walking across the street or down the block to put that cash in the hands of someone who really does. Or how about donating it to a church or food bank, or any number of good causes that are struggling to meet the needs of people who are really hurting?
I’m thankful that I don’t have to worry about my next paycheck, but I’m glad to know I can help some who are less fortunate.
Joan Koester, Northfield, Minn.
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Take the time now to make where we live more beautiful. Take a walk outside. Bring a bag. Pick up the litter the melting snow is revealing along our pathways, streets and roads.
Jody Hedman, Isanti, Minn.
Right ideas, wrong label
Everything Sen. Bernie Sanders says makes sense, except the label he puts on himself. It has prevented him from gaining the nomination. Had he just called himself an “FDR Democrat,” which he appears to be, he would have made a great president.
Ingrid Stocking, Minneapolis
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Isn’t it ironic that the candidacy of Sanders is in decline because of his socialist ideas, when it is socialism that may well be the very thing that saves us from coronavirus?
Bill Habedank, Red Wing, Minn.
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