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  1. Opinion

President’s speech was not comforting

Here’s what readers are saying in Friday’s letters to the editor
A woman walks by a travel authorization machine in the main terminal of Brussels International Airport in Brussels, March 12, 2020. The European Union has slammed the new anti-virus travel ban announced by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday. [VIRGINIA MAYO     |  AP]
A woman walks by a travel authorization machine in the main terminal of Brussels International Airport in Brussels, March 12, 2020. The European Union has slammed the new anti-virus travel ban announced by U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday. [VIRGINIA MAYO | AP]

Not a speech that reassured

Trump bans travel to U.S. from Europe | March 12

President Donald Trump delivered an 11-minute address to the nation Wednesday evening reading from a teleprompter in an uninflected monotone that would have left even a base-model droid embarrassed. In an attempt to foreclose further coronavirus infections from abroad, he announced a ban on travel from Europe but excluded the United Kingdom for reasons left unexplained. No sooner did he conclude his remarks than the White House was forced to issue clarifications that the ban would not apply to American citizens, green card holders and their family members or cargo shipments.

No mention was made of the lack of domestic testing capability, the inadequate stocks of medical equipment such as ventilators or the limited number of hospital beds available to handle the anticipated surge of coronavirus cases. So unconvincing were Trump’s words and delivery that stocks immediately sank another 7 percent.

His call for unity in the face of the health-care crisis he had recently termed a hoax perpetrated by the Democrats was belied by an early-morning tweet attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. All in all, this was more evidence that Donald J. Trump is uniquely unsuited to hold the office of president, a failing about which his closest advisers and speech writers, Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller, as well as Fox’s Sean Hannity and conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh seem blissfully unaware.

Fred Kalhammer, Sun City Center

Far more lethal than the flu

How I live with lung transplant | Letter, March 10

A commuter wears a face mask in the New York City transit system, March 9, 2020, in New York. [JOHN MINCHILLO | AP]

Indications are that the novel coronavirus is at least 10 times more lethal than seasonal influenza. Those with chronic lung disease and those receiving immunosuppressive therapy — like the letter writer who has received a lung transplant — are at the highest risk. Respiratory syncytial virus infections have a vanishingly low mortality rate, far below that of the flu in non-immunocompromised individuals.

If someone as medically experienced as a lung-transplant recipient on immunosuppressive drugs still believes that COVID-19 is no big deal, that’s an indictment of the chaotic, inconsistent, expert-muffling proclamations from the Trump administration based on the president’s “hunches,” wishful thinking and self-interested gaslighting.

Dr. Howard L. Ritter Jr., Sun City Center

Many of us are older, too

Snowbirds, stay home! | Letter, March 12

Visitors enjoy Clearwater Beach last November.

The snowbirds are already here, tens of thousands of us. In fact, many of us have been in Florida for several months. Like some Floridians many of us are elderly often with underlying medical conditions. And like Floridians, we are concerned about the virus and are taking the necessary precautions to stop its spread. Meanwhile, we keep spending millions of dollars here each winter in order to fuel the Florida economy.

Gary Clemence, Dunedin

Just more empty seats

MLB expected to suspend spring games, delay start of season | March 12

The scene at what may be the Rays last game for a while on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Port Charlotte. [MARC TOPKIN | Tampa Bay Times]

If Major League Baseball makes teams play games without fans, the advantage will go to the Tampa Bay Rays. They’ve been doing it for years.

Rich Lynch, North Redington Beach

To our Readers,
We are temporarily suspending comments on tampabay.com. The staff members tasked with managing this feature are devoted to our ongoing coronavirus pandemic coverage. We apologize for this inconvenience. If you want to submit a tip, please go to this page. You may also submit a letter to the editor.

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