President Donald Trump will likely survive his bout of COVID ­— and that’s a good thing. Even one more death from this virus would mean tragedy for one more American family.

But for the 209,000 other Americans who have died as a result of contracting COVID as well as the millions of others who have survived being infected, the superb care available to Trump remains (mostly) unavailable.

I had COVID. And I was very fortunate that my symptoms were mild, manageable and that I did not require hospitalization.

However, here’s how it goes for people who are not the president of the United States: You are told to isolate and monitor your symptoms and are encouraged to use over-the-counter medications. If and when your symptoms worsen you are advised to go to the emergency room. By that time many, many people are too sick to get the full benefits of some treatments (such as remdesivir). The antibody treatment that Trump received is still experimental and not widely available.

Here’s what is available: all the known preventive measures, masks and social distancing especially, that can prevent transmission of the disease in the first place ... if all people follow those guidelines.

Trump disparaged and mocked the use of masks. It is in this way that he failed us all. Miserably.

Tish Murphy, Minneapolis

• • •

We all have a responsibility to reach out to those with whom we might have been in contact if we might have been exposed to the coronavirus. Our president and his team seem to believe they are above this responsibility.

During the weekly COVID-19 briefing with the Minnesota Department of Health last Friday, a reporter asked if the Trump campaign notified the department of potential mass exposure, but MDH found out just like everyone else. A campaign team that can organize $100,000-per-plate fundraisers should be able to contact the Health Department with vital information. Leaving the communication up to the media, the same media that is often called “fake news,” is careless, selfish and dangerous.

We should not be happy our president is sick. No one deserves to suffer. However, the way his campaign team handled the information of his illness is infuriating.

Ashley Young, Eden Prairie

• • •

I don’t understand, how could the president get the coronavirus? He took every precaution he recommended!

Steve VanderLinden, Farmington


Congressmen risked others’ health

I safely disembarked Saturday morning from my Delta flight from Green Bay, Wis., where I work part-time at Bellin Hospital. I carefully signed my pre-flight questions, assuring the airlines I had not knowingly been exposed to others with COVID-19, I was not ill or having any COVID-like symptoms and posed no risk to my fellow passengers. I kept my distance, and like everyone else on the flight, wore my mask. Green Bay currently has one of the highest COVID rates in the nation. The clinics and hospitals are excellent there, and we all strive mightily to protect our patients and ourselves from infection while dealing with the other medical issues that still need to be treated during this pandemic. I feel very safe working there, and we currently have enough personal protective equipment and antimicrobial wash to continue care, but believe me, it is a strain on us all working in hospitals and clinics.

So to read that morning in “After exposure, congressmen fly home” (Oct. 3) that U.S. Reps. Pete Stauber, Tom Emmer and Jim Hagedorn flew on a commercial Delta flight Friday night, alongside countless other passengers, knowing full well that in the last week they had not practiced social distancing, had not worn masks and had been exposed to literally the most famous person on the planet who now is ill and became hospitalized with the disease just blows my mind. Yes, they tested negative on Friday. How many more need to die before people understand that a single test does not guarantee that one is not ill?

On behalf of the medical community and all sane people, I beg my fellow Americans: Wake up! Mask up! And protect the rest of us from getting this disease or passing it to those we love. To those congressmen: Shame on you all, and don’t you dare claim to be for “law and order” ever again. You broke the biggest rule there is right now in the middle of a pandemic, and I have no patience with your whining about personal liberty. The president, his family and many others in the White House and the GOP have flagrantly ignored and mocked the easiest task in the world to bring our virus rates under control, and we are all paying dearly for this.

To fly when you’ve been exposed to the virus is not conservative, patriotic or business-promoting. It’s shameful, selfish and endangers us all.

Dr. Cheryl Bailey, St. Paul

Stauber, Emmer and Hagedorn flew home from Washington on Delta on Friday night, knowing that they had been exposed to COVID-19 two days earlier. This is in direct violation of Delta’s policies. According to reports, Delta knowingly let them fly despite the exposure. Shame on these representatives for recklessly endangering other people, and shame on Delta for going along with it. Who will take responsibility if anyone else on that flight gets COVID-19, or worse yet, dies from it? Their actions suggest that it won’t be the congressmen.

Eric Pasternack, Mendota Heights


Not another originalist, please

Steve Chapman’s commentary “Barrett’s religion is fine” (Opinion Exchange, Oct. 5) identifies a critical aspect of the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Her confirmation will add another adherent of originalism to the court. Proponents of originalism want judicial decisions based on the intent of the framers of the Constitution as written.

The disagreement over her potential confirmation extends beyond her qualifications. She appears to be an intelligent jurist who has applied consistently her preferred principles of judicial interpretation. There also is little doubt that the GOP Senate has the right to rush through the confirmation process even though, in my opinion, such action is a case of disingenuous hypocrisy.

We also must consider the merits of originalism. Strict adherence to originalist philosophy requires not just the ability to read the words of the Constitution and Bill of Rights but also to mind-read the exact intent of the framers of these documents. I do not believe that Barrett has that ability. Nor do other originalists currently on the court, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch. The credibility of originalism depends on the narrowest of interpretations based on a level of omniscience that is not held by these jurists.

The alternative is to see the Constitution as a living document best viewed in a contemporary context rather than settings hundreds of years old. As Chapman points out, there are real-world consequences to judicial decisions. Proponents of the Affordable Care Act and Roe v. Wade are rightfully anxious and often suggest that originalism simply is code for conservative social policies in these cases. That may be so, but the core issue is greater. A Supreme Court strongly tilted to originalism will shape our laws for generations in ways that will be widely out of step with the welfare and will of the vast majority of citizens. That is why Barrett should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Phil George, Lakeville

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