The March 6 article "Minn. to address vaccine inequity" (front page) failed to compare "apples to apples" while making its supposedly data-based case.

Although the article was peppered with numbers, the only relevant one was that "93% of [Minnesotans aged 65 and older are] white and not Hispanic." Fine. Let's compare that to the percentage of that group that has received the COVID vaccine. Sorry, but the article didn't provide that number.

What percentage of Minnesota's first responders and health care workers are white and not Hispanic?

What about people eligible for the vaccine based on health issues?

Finally, what about our day care providers and K-12 educators?

That "81.6% of the state's residents are white [but] they have received 90.7% of the vaccines" seems incriminating at first glance, but not all residents have been eligible for the vaccine, and the missing data for included groups makes it a flawed "apples to oranges" comparison.

John R. Porter, Minneapolis
• • •

The COVID-19 vaccine article in the March 6 Star Tribune says that Minnesotans identifying as nonwhite have been shortchanged on their proportionate share of COVID-19 vaccinations. Taken out of context, this is a damning statistic.

But to date, most vaccinated citizens have been over age 70 and doctors and nurses, who are overwhelmingly white. If nonwhite medical workers in hospitals and nursing homes are being vaccinated at a lower rate than whites, this would be something to focus on, but quite minor.

By comparison, around 30% of Minnesota residents under age 20 are nonwhite, and almost no one in this category has received a COVID-19 vaccination per recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If the goal was to target an equal representation of each minority, then the CDC should have ignored the science currently preventing most people under 65, including young people, from being eligible for shots.

Steve DeLapp, Lake Elmo
LEGISLATURE AND COVID

The GOP, making decisions? Yikes.

State Rep. Paul Gazelka's opinion piece ("One full year of one-man rule is enough," Opinion Exchange, March 6) is absolutely a transparent example of how tone-deaf he and other Republicans occupying seats at our Capitol really are and remain to this day with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his very first paragraph he references now-deceased state Sen. Jerry Relph as an example of the Legislature being fully capable of determining what's best for Minnesotans in a worldwide pandemic. Really, Rep. Gazelka? That's the only example you can provide regarding why you and others do not listen to science nor have empathy for those Minnesota families who have lost their loves ones, including Relph's own family?

Relph passed away from COVID-19 in December after attending a not fully masked, not socially distanced event you and your cronies hosted at a local restaurant in Lake Elmo in November, despite warnings from health experts worldwide. In your apparent wisdom, Republican leadership (?) thought it was a perfect time to have a celebration for barely retaining control of the state's Senate chamber. Some of Sen. Relph's family has blamed you for his death and has already spoken out about your lack of clear decisionmaking with regard to people's lives.

I am not a Democrat, and this is not a partisan issue. Making good policy and decisions to protect the masses of Minnesota citizens and families is a hard job, and Gov. Tim Walz has done an extraordinary job with dignity and class. Allowing Republicans to make future decisions on how to protect all of us with the biggest health crisis of our time? No, thanks.

Lisa Raduenz, St. Paul
CHAUVIN TRIAL

'Justice' means more than 'my preferred outcome'

I have followed the Derek Chauvin trial preparations closely. No matter your personal feelings, and there are many that are very strong, he deserves to be tried in a court of law and by the evidence. Not by protest groups, the media or politicians. I see so many saying that they want "justice." My concern is if their definition of justice isn't what comes out of the trial, then what? More destruction?

Protest peacefully. That's your absolute right. But let the system work.

Gerry Anderson, Forest Lake
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I was sorry to see that the Hennepin County sheriff said in his commentary he sought to create "strong partnerships" and "sound planning" with only law enforcement organizations ("Free speech, public safety will be protected," Opinion Exchange, March 7). Perhaps if Sheriff David Hutchinson met with organizations planning to demonstrate around the courthouse during the Chauvin trial, he could begin to build relationships which could lead to "support from the public." Or maybe the public could get support from law enforcement.

There was also no mention of what fate would befall an officer or deputy if they were to "cause harm"? What if law enforcement personnel were to "break things, burn things or hurt people"? Can they expect to "be arrested" or to "go to jail"? This one-sided, threatening language is not constructive. After all, police hurting people is why we're here in the first place.

Jack Woodcock, Brooklyn Park
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Attorney Joe Friedberg is correct in warning that it will be "an absolutely monumental job" to impanel a fair and impartial jury in trial of Derek Chauvin ("Seating jury 'monumental' task," front page, March 7). But in my opinion, that accomplishment, as important as it is to a fair trial, will be only half the battle in this case because of the passion of people on both sides of the issue. Day after day, this jury will hear chants from the demonstrators in the street, Black and white, "we better get justice." It will take a brave juror indeed to stand up to such intimidation and render a verdict that is based solely on evidence presented in the courtroom.

Ronald Haskvitz, Golden Valley
INSECTICIDES

If they're so risky, ban them

Yay to the Department of Natural Resources for acknowledging the risks neonicotinoid pesticides pose to many species of wildlife, including birds, deer and beneficial insects ("Insecticides in Deer? Studies will deepen," March 5). Boo to the DNR for apparently not stepping up to protect nongame species from a class of pesticides that have been banned in Europe. And boo to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for allowing these horribly toxic chemicals to even be permitted into production and use.

What this says is that Minnesota needs a Department of the Environment. Not an agency that pretty much only considers whether there are enough resources to take or an agency that provides permits to pollute, but an agency that takes a holistic perspective. What are the potential and real impacts of proposed actions on ecosystems and human health? What can be done to mitigate those impacts or should that proposed action not be allowed? How does the precautionary principle fit in? These are questions that are often raised but not often addressed by the state's environmental agencies. According to the United Nations' recent report, "Make Peace with Nature," we are in a climate, extinction and pollution crisis. These crises are having, and will have, real and devastating effects on humans. We need agencies that can adequately address them in a comprehensive manner, not solely base decisions on whether one species, primarily important to one small segment of society, is worthy of further investigation and action.

Catherine Zimmer, St. Paul

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