Thank you to those expressing concern for lifting the mask mandate too soon. I am one of those millions on a strong immunosuppressant infusion for overlapping autoimmune disorders. My virtual support group for Sjogren's syndrome meets biweekly. Lifting the mask mandate and other restrictions ironically shrinks our world further. We can empathize with Monday's article featuring long-haulers due to shared symptoms that, like Sjogren's, are on a continuum from mild to debilitating ("Research turns to COVID long haulers," front page).
Some of us on these infusions have tested with zero antibodies for fighting the virus despite being fully vaccinated. We are dependent on everyone getting vaccinated, not just the elusive herd immunity. The unvaccinated and unmasked keep the millions of immune-suppressed people on strong treatments away from stores, church, restaurants and travel.
I was raised by scientists who taught me to do my research and to care for my neighbors. We are your neighbor.
Cynthia Neubecker, Northfield, Minn.
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The whole mask discussion is only needed for those who can't read ("From mandate to mixed rules," front page, May 15). Put your mask in your pocket or purse, and if the sign on the door says, "Wear a mask, please" or "Mask required" then put the mask on. Simple. Don't complain or fuss — it is your choice to not go in and find somewhere else to shop. I live in a busy tourist area, and we will have some stores that require a mask and some that don't. If you don't like the policy as posted then go somewhere else. We still have positive COVID cases going around a county that has taken vaccinations seriously and has a very limited workforce and a busy summer season ahead. Don't be a jerk when you travel to the North Shore, please. We all want to have fun, be safe and earn a living here in the Arrowhead. Be respectful of the businesses that post their mask policy.
Suzanne Davies, Lutsen, Minn.
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To all Twin Cities news outlets: We (the general public) are not confused, bewildered or stupid. The mask guidelines are simple. If a city, like Minneapolis or St. Paul, says, "Wear masks indoors within the city," then wear them. Where is the confusion in that? If a business like Target says, "If you are vaccinated and not in a city with a mask mandate, fine, go without a mask." Where is the confusion in that? Why does the news media keep perpetrating the myth that this is too complicated for the public to understand? Write news stories that support the progress we have made and stop with the mindless blather about how complicated this all is. Thank you.
Joe DeMuth, Minneapolis
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I am extremely disappointed in Gov. Tim Walz's removal of the mask mandate. My third-grade daughter was already in quarantine this week due to exposure to a classmate with a positive COVID-19 test. Within minutes of the governor's announcement I learned that there were even more cases in her class. The exposures ranged from May 4 to May 11, so in all likelihood, the virus was transmitted from child to child, even with strict masking and distancing protocols in the school. The only symptoms in all four cases were stuffy or runny noses. I don't fault parents for sending their kids to school with a stuffy nose in the middle of allergy season. How can we feel safe without masks, with so many people still unvaccinated and the virus still going around?
Sally Brummel, Roseville
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released new masking guidelines for fully vaccinated Americans. But my family is one of many for whom "normal" cannot return until we reach herd immunity through the COVID-19 vaccine. My son was born at only 23 weeks gestation, right on the edge of viability. And like many people in our communities, he will have to contend with a compromised immune system and damaged lungs for years. COVID would kill my baby and he cannot be vaccinated, so I need you to get vaccinated for him.
My perspective is that of an immunocompromised, medically complex, critically ill child's mother. And my opinion is this: Unless you have been told by a health care professional that you should not get vaccinated, your excuses are frankly offensive and selfish. Over the last several months, my husband and I have been confronted with agonizing decisions over our son's lifesaving treatments. Many of them have real, documented, known side effects and can cause long-term damage. I wish every medication he received was as well-researched and safe as the COVID vaccines are!
I implore you to do the right thing and get vaccinated as soon as possible. This isn't about politics or ideology or even you as an individual. It's about protecting our vulnerable neighbors, people like my son who are fighting unseen battles against tough odds. By getting vaccinated now, you will help limit the virus's ability to mutate and will help families like ours eventually find normalcy again.
Holly Dayton, Roseville
Incentivize the switch first
I'm no economist, but a recent letter writer's proposal to eliminate the gas tax doesn't seem to make a lot of economic sense ("With EV push, rethink gas tax," Readers Write, May 15). If we all agree that "the vehicle industry must and will switch from gas-powered to electric powered vehicles," should we not provide an incentive to do so in the form of a higher gas tax? Electric vehicles still only make up a tiny share of Minnesota's vehicle market; there are more than enough gas cars to pick up the slack. When that is no longer true, we can talk about taxing tires.
Samuel Robertson, St. Paul
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I have been driving an EV for the past year here in Minnesota. The annual tag sticker fees include an extra $75 in lieu of taxes for gasoline, which I no longer purchase. In Minnesota, according to a Google search, the road gas tax is around $0.28 per gallon. So my extra $75 per year EV tax would be an equivalent of around 268 gallons of fuel per year — and if I had a gasoline vehicle that averaged 34 miles per gallon (as did my previously owned Ford Focus), that would be equivalent to 9,112 miles of road travel per year, or 175 miles per week. So, as an EV owner, I am paying my fair share of road taxes.
Kirk Cobb, White Bear Lake
RETURN TO THE OFFICE
Can't work be more like home?
So, the light is at the end of the tunnel; we'll be returning to the office sooner rather than later. Well, we have a few things you'll need to consider.
You'll probably want to invest in some air fresheners. It might take us a while to transition back to daily rather than weekly showers we've been taking since working from home.
While you're at it, let's install a washer and dryer in the lower level. It's so nice to be able to toss a in load of laundry in the middle of the day.
And how much trouble would it be to move the kitchen to right outside my office? Rather than having to walk all the way downstairs to nuke my food, I want to be able to walk the equivalent of the steps I took from my dining room table/office to the kitchen so I can graze all day.
Dogs and cats in the office are a given. And budget at least 10 minutes each day for discussions over whether a dog or a cat makes a better pet.
Start times for meetings are going to have to be flexible, because this dog sitting on my lap isn't moving anytime soon.
And speaking of dogs, make sure she has a clear view of everyone walking down the street, with special attention to the mail carrier. Make sure she can bark incessantly until she gets to smell every piece of mail that was delivered.
Allow for frequent walks to the door, but then let the dog decide she doesn't want to go out after all.
As far as a dress code, sweats and T-shirts are OK. Pajamas are strictly forbidden … after 1 p.m.
Carolyn Curti, Minneapolis
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