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  1. Opinion

I had a lung transplant, but coronavirus doesn’t really scare me

Here’s what readers are saying in Tuesday’s letters to the editor
A commuter wears a face mask in the New York City transit system on March 9. New York continued grappling Monday with the new coronavirus, as case numbers, school closings and other consequences grew. [JOHN MINCHILLO | AP]

How I live with a lung transplant


I had dinner with friends, and coronavirus concerns came up in talks about travel, visitors, contact with the public and hoarding toilet paper. And, as a lung transplant recipient, I was asked: Am I afraid of catching the virus? I replied, “Not really!” I wasn’t trying to be smug. It’s just how I really felt. I am immune-compromised to protect my transplanted lungs, but COVID-19 is no more significant a challenge than the common flu, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza and pneumonia — all of which are life-threatening, and I caught and fought them successfully.

These devils and more — listeria and E. coli on contaminated veggies could be worse — are the daily concerns I live with, requiring constant vigil and common sense. And yes, much like the public today, my wife and I were in a panic about all contacts immediately after the transplant, when our experiences were new. After six years, we have a more rational recognition of the dangers. I try to be careful. My guess is like some top news stories, we’ll gradually get more familiar with coronavirus’ hazards, and seemingly irrational behavior, like hoarding toilet paper, will diminish. We could all end up with healthier habits.

Gregory Matthews, St. Petersburg

Don’t forget the record

Former governor throwing shade? | March 8

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott appeared on Fox News on Saturday morning, calling out the way Florida has disclosed information on coronavirus. [Twitter]

Were the consequences not so grave, Sen. Rick Scott’s plea for federal funding to combat the coronavirus would be comical. He simply ignores the fact that he turned down millions upon millions of federal funding by not expanding Medicaid when he was governor. He then has the gall to accuse our current governor of secrecy. This, from a governor who ran the most clandestine administration in history. We also need to remind ourselves that Scott oversaw the bungling of our unemployment registry and the SunPass toll system. The public often has a short memory, and we need to be reminded of Scott’s legacy as he seeks to remake it, and we need to be vigilant to see that his successor does not make the same mistakes.

Stephen Phillips, St. Petersburg

Public service, public trough

Sunday columns | March 8

John Romano and Graham Brink dedicated their columns to two people with diametrically opposed views on how to help others. Romano articulately outlined Dick Vitale’s tireless mission to help raise both money and awareness to fight pediatric cancer. On his own time, Vitale visits and consoles those at their most vulnerable time — when a child is stricken with cancer. Using his platform, he has cajoled and arm-twisted the likes of Nick Saban and Mike Krzyzewski for their time and money. On the other end of the public spectrum, we have Graham Brink’s account of Tiffany Carr. In another situation when people need our assistance the most, during domestic violence, she appears to have squeezed every possible nickel of the agency’s resources for her personal gain. Would Vitale ask for $7.5 million in compensation to run his foundation? He makes the V Foundation his life’s work to help his community and holds true to his roots.

Dennis Dillon, Tampa

Bulls, now bears, oh, my

The stock market

A broker scratches his head as he looks at his screens at the stock market in Frankfurt, Germany, on March 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst) [MICHAEL PROBST | AP]

Since President Donald Trump gleefully takes all the credit for the stock market rise the last few years, he must also take the blame for the stock market tanking. Can’t have it both ways, coronavirus or not.

Rick Cortese, Tampa