In the Sept. 11 edition of the Star Tribune, I was stunned to see Republican gubernatorial candidateScott Jensen openly call for "civil disobedience" against the very public health measures necessary in order to make forward progress in the fight against COVID-19, masking and vaccination ("Jensen: 'Stand up' to COVID guidance").
Jensen is not just a politician making opinion statements; he is a licensed family physician and therefore should be held accountable for his disgraceful disinformation campaign. The Minnesota Board of Medical Practice should investigate and discipline him for his absolute disregard of the facts. His actions are putting more Minnesotans at risk of illness and death as well as increasing the strain on already overburdened medical providers.
Jensen's public actions painfully undermine the efforts that I, and thousands of my colleagues, put forth daily to prevent and treat this deadly virus.
Maybe Jensen hasn't had any patients die of COVID-19 or doesn't care if they do.
But I have, and I do.
Dr. Matt Logan, Stillwater
I realize that the Star Tribune is a publication that leans to the left. I get that. But I believe that in the world of journalism, it goes a long way toward a newspaper's credibility if both sides of an issue are presented. Regarding the quotation in the Jensen article from a person saying that he is a "discredited doctor," it would be very interesting if the Star Tribune spoke to a few of the multitude of people who have been Dr. Jensen's patients for decades. They could tell you about the dedication and level of care that he provides. They could also tell you that his integrity, faith and sense of honor are second to none. Dr. Jensen is the rare doctor in today's world who really listens to what his patients have to say and responds with an uncanny ability to diagnose and treat. Discredited? Not on your life.
Jo Mankenberg, Howard Lake, Minn.
Jensen's dangerous misinformation campaign against COVID guidance makes me want to paraphrase a commercial from the 1980s: "Hi, my name is Scott Jensen. I'm not a real doctor, but I played one in the Legislature."
Mariana Ginder, Minneapolis
Just read the article about New York hospital staffers resigning over COVID vaccination requirements ("N.Y. hospital pauses deliveries after staffers resign over coronavirus vaccine mandate," Sept. 12). Good riddance to them and anyone else who uses "my body, my choice" as an excuse to not get vaccinated. It is not just their body they are choosing to risk, it's a risk for everyone else that they come in contact with. COVID is not some conspiracy contrived by all the leaders of the world, and the best scientific minds have come up with a way to bring the pandemic to its knees. But no, these "freedom of choice" folks obviously are so much smarter.
This is not to say that one must agree to everything our government comes up with — far from it — but this is one of those times to take one for the team because it helps make us all better and safer.
Robert Lommel, Minnetonka
Hospitalizations are around April's peak, ICU beds are near filled, and the unvaccinated are 11 times more likely to die. In spite of these headlines there is still a small group of politicians and citizens beating their chests with trumped-up outrage about their rights. What we rarely hear is this: Responsibilities accompany rights. We know the classic example: We have freedom of speech but must exercise it responsibly. We understand that responsibility for public welfare accompanies our rights. For example, we have agreed as a society that we have the responsibility to vaccinate kids for measles if they're attending school because measles can kill kids. Other than those who have a medical condition, our choice is simple. Either we selfishly turn our back on our friends, family and neighbors by choosing not to be vaccinated and proclaim it's all about my — my! — rights, or we choose to be vaccinated and proclaim to all those around us: I will exercise my rights responsibly. America, I'll vaccinate. I've got your back.
Charles King, Farmington
I wish I could ignore the voices claiming "my body, my choice"! (Did the anti-vaxxers steal signs from the closet of a feminist organization?) But their choices for their bodies are having a huge impact on others. If the unvaccinated really want to own their choice, then it seems right that they would own the consequences as well. But somehow that is not part of their demands. The unvaccinated are filling hospital beds and the ICU of every major hospital. The unvaccinated are responsible for cancer patients delaying treatment, running the risk of catching a breakthrough infection and making a difficult disease ever more difficult — because they wanted their choice but not their consequence. Let them sign waivers, and seal them with the kiss of the courts, that they will not take that bed from someone struggling with a heart attack, stroke or cancer. Let them volunteer to forgo oxygen, treatment rooms and the ICU. Let them volunteer to wait in hallways, bed down in gyms or conference rooms while others fight their unplanned, surprise diagnosis with the help of doctors and nurses who are not overly tired and stressed. Let them fully accept what it means to be unvaccinated.
Wow — this sounds so cruel! But it is also cruel what the choices of the unvaccinated are doing to others. The problem appears to be they want their choices but they want me to live with their consequences.
Donna M. Husbands, Otsego
Last year as schools were facing the COVID-19 pandemic, careful steps were laid out by districts to social distance, wear masks and offer online learning to prevent the spread of this disease.
Looking at the start of this school year, I am alarmed and shocked by the lack of prevention taken by some school districts.
The most important job of every school is to ensure the safety and health of the students. If a student is not safe or healthy, how much learning can take place?
Sept. 7 was the first day of school in my granddaughter's room. A classmate had symptoms of COVID-19. After being tested, the student was found positive. It wasn't until Friday that the other students were informed this student tested positive for COVID-19. This school district, along with many others, does not require masks. Haven't we learned from watching what is happening in other states?
Please require masks and social distancing in our schools to protect all of our students. Students will follow rules that will protect them.
Donna Sobiech, Wyoming, Minn.
SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS
With shortage, rethink bus ride
Parents with school-age children are painfully aware of the slow-rolling disaster that is the shortage of bus transportation ("Drivers: We're in crisis," Sept. 14) This is a rare opportunity to reimagine school transportation. For starters, the school districts need to outsource transportation services. District administrators need to focus on education issues, not worry about logistics. Second, the technology exists to create a distributed network of providers that can respond to the changing needs of students. Think Uber and Lyft. These companies have the expertise to recruit and vet drivers, the technology to optimize routes, and the financial infrastructure to compensate providers. Instead of loading up a bus with 45 students and forcing them to share unventilated space for an extended period, why not offer a short ride with three or four other students, provided by a friendly neighborhood resident with a background check, constantly monitored routes and the ability to directly communicate with parents? Multiple drivers can deliver students efficiently with increased safety and shorter ride times.
This way, school start times no longer need to be controlled by delayed bus schedules, and the driver shortage disappears. Let's reimagine the solution.
George Hutchinson, Minneapolis
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