One day, people will spill out of their homes like the first warm day in spring after an eternity of winter. We will go to our favorite places or to no place in particular. But we will go. Kids will bust out the door to play with their friends, and the playgrounds will be full and noisy again.
We will hold our funerals and say our pent-up, plaintive goodbyes, remembering our loved ones when they were full of life and times were normal. We will grieve for victims we know and others we’ve never met and say a private thank you to the health care heroes who saved so many others and the “essential” (no kidding) workers who got us through this.
We will visit our loved ones in institutions and hold our backlogged birthday parties, family reunions, block parties and one-on-one meetups with our friends. We will look for our favorite restaurants and hope they’re still there.
We will resume our commutes — not minding the delays — and be grateful for the presence of our workmates. We will return to our volunteer work, bringing cheer to hospitals, food shelves and group homes.
And some of us will have to start over.
We will linger in the grocery aisles, leisurely choosing our bananas with just the right shade of yellow, bump into each other and not care. And we will do it without bothering to make an exhaustive list of what we’ll need in the next couple of weeks.
Our places of worship will fill up with people and fervent song.
One day, “Play ball!” will ring out and the smell of hot dogs will be in the air. Parents will cheer at their kids’ games and resume conversations with other parents that started in a different season.
We will pack the concert venue of our choice, fill our hearts with melody and refresh the musical tapes in our heads.
Our neck muscles will relax; we will breathe in the sweet air of relief, no matter the season, and revel in simply being.
And we will touch each other once again.
Rich Cowles, Eagan
• • •
Minnesotans should be proud of our efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic (“Distancing begins to pay,” front page, April 5). Our citizens, business leaders, local governments, state government (both sides of the aisle) and our health care systems have all put their collective shoulders to this massive problem and are pushing in the right direction in synchrony.
A quick comparison will show how we are doing relative to other states. The United States has four states with populations between 5 million and 6 million — in order of size from largest to smallest, Wisconsin, Colorado, Minnesota and South Carolina. As of the morning of April 6, Minnesota was reporting less than 1,000 identified cases of COVID-19. South Carolina and Wisconsin were each reporting more than 2,000 cases and Colorado was reporting more than 5,000 cases.
Obviously, what we are doing as a state population is helping our situation. Let’s keep doing it despite the economic pain it is causing. National and world data is hinting that the infection rate may peak in the next two weeks or thereabouts. Another month or so may get us to the point where we can start to resume something like normal lives.
Our next task will be to dramatically ramp up our testing and tracing capability so that new infections can be detected quickly and steps be taken to manage newly infected persons and their contacts. When the virus returns, which will be likely before we have mass vaccination, rapid testing will be our best defense.
Stop for a moment, give yourself an “atta girl/boy” and get back the task of sending COVID-19 down to defeat.
Jeff Spartz, Eagan
• • •
My son mentioned to me today that Gov. Tim Walz is urging citizens to call a hotline and report persons violating the stay-at-home declaration. I find it mind-boggling that any community leader, from the mayor of a five-building township community to a state leader to the president of the United States, would seek to duplicate the action of a socialist or communist government and recommend such an action be taken. This is Communism 101! I am not even going to go into detail of the history of such action(s) taken by a community/state/national leader in order to turn citizens against one another. Mr. Governor, you have just guaranteed a victory in November for President Donald Trump. Thank you! Your turn will come at the polls. Sic semper tyrannis!
Mike Auspos, Ramsey
• • •
The schools are closed. The stores are closed. The restaurants are closed. The basketball court in my neighborhood park is overflowing with players, day after day.
The city is not taking this seriously. We call the park police, and sometimes they come and talk to these players, but as soon as the officer drives away, the game starts up again. Why is it OK for these people to endanger everyone else? The longer this is allowed to continue, the longer the rest of us are held hostage in our homes, many prevented from making a living.
Take the hoops down. Please.
Laura Lund, Minneapolis
Government choices led us here
The article from the Washington Post published in the Star Tribune on April 4, “U.S. plan for masks died out in 2018,” about a plan to develop a machine to manufacture very rapidly millions of N95 masks in a public health crisis, was frightening. I suspect most readers were not fooled by the use of intransitive language, but the use of such “exculpatory” language needs to be pointed out.
It starts with the headline and the use of “died out.” While the use of metaphorical language is understandable, perhaps a more accurate metaphor would have been “killed.” Indeed, the plan never was alive in a strict sense but was so in the metaphorical sense; it did not passively “lose” its life, its life was intentionally taken from it. Its death was not caused because “no funding was available,” but rather because individuals decided not to make money available for this endeavor. The money did not disappear, it was deliberately not provided.
Given the president’s efforts to erase the accomplishments of his predecessor, most particularly to gut or eliminate the Affordable Care Act, as well as his steadfast, ignorant denial of the importance of the coronavirus pandemic, it is not difficult to speculate about identity of the author of the decision not to pursue the N95 plan. We are all suffering the consequences of that decision, especially the health care providers on the front lines of our defense against COVID-19.
John D. Tobin, St. Paul
Broadband matters more than ever
One silver lining to the current pandemic is more people working from home. I hope that after this crisis is over, businesses and employees will have become so efficient at it that they continue to do so. It saves business the cost of real estate space for offices. It saves employees time and money for transportation, day care, food and clothing. It saves wear and tear on the roads and bridges, saves fuel and reduces pollution.
All of this is possible due to high-speed internet. Any future infrastructure spending should divert more money for broadband, especially for rural Minnesota.
Mark Hodapp, Belle Plaine
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