1. Opinion

Here’s how I was screened for coronavirus after returning from Europe. And I’m a nurse.

Here’s what readers are saying in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
Travelers wait in line to go through customs at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on March 14, 2020. [MICHAEL SADLER  |  AP]
Travelers wait in line to go through customs at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on March 14, 2020. [MICHAEL SADLER | AP]

How Customs ‘screened’ me

The coronavirus

We returned from a trans-Atlantic cruise on Saturday, having traveled from Fort Lauderdale to Barcelona to London to Miami. U.S. Customs flagged us for a double health screen and, frankly, I was glad. As a registered nurse, I wanted to be tested so that I could go to work. Otherwise, I can’t enter the hospital for two weeks. Much to our surprise, the “screening” consisted of someone telling us to take our temperature two times a day, call the doctor if it goes above 101. That’s it. No swabs, no checking for fever — nothing. They could have made that announcement on the plane. Instead, we were forced to wait for 1½ hours while the Homeland Security staff struggled with what to do. Don’t get me wrong. They were very polite, but it was obvious they had no instructions. They conferred about how to handle the flight crew and decided to just let them enter with no “screening” because they had been given no direction. It was total chaos and even though we were among the first to enter the screening area, we were among the last to have our passports returned because they were just thrown into a pile on a table and randomly grabbed to be reviewed in the computer a second time. Finally, they decided to just let us all go with the verbal instructions because they had run out of paperwork. So, doubt our president when he says travelers are being screened and that it’s well under control.

Gene Embler, Madeira Beach

A break for Mother Earth

The coronavirus

Aaron Murray, 45, from St Petersburg, relaxes in his hammock as he watches the sunrise over the water at North Shore Park on Monday, March 16, 2020 in St. Petersburg. "I try to chase as many as I can, Murray said about watching the sunrise. "It really helps set the tone for the day." [DIRK SHADD | Times]

During the coronavirus outbreak, our beautiful Earth is getting a break. There are fewer aircraft spewing their exhaust into the atmosphere. There are no cars driving to and filling the parking lots at sporting events, and less energy is being burned to fuel the broadcasting, cooling and lighting of these nonevents. Perhaps with the approach of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we should consider a yearly holiday in which everything is shut down for a week. Climate change activists tell us that drastic changes are need to save the planet, so let’s give the Earth a rest from destructive human activity. By doing nothing, we are doing something positive.

Eric Folsom, Gulfport

Democrats, quit pandering

Elbow faceoff | March 15

Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, extends his elbow to greet Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., right, as they participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at CNN Studios in Washington, Sunday, March 15, 2020. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) [PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS | AP]

So Joe Biden has promised several times to select a black woman as his nominee for the Supreme Court. If that is not a litmus test, I do not know what is. Men need not apply. White women or those of Hispanic, Asian, American Indian or Middle Eastern descent need not apply. Does not matter if you are the most qualified. And both Biden and (apparently) Bernie Sanders have promised to select a woman as their running mate if nominated. Perhaps we will get to see the Democratic version of Sarah Palin. Of course, now, if they do not select a woman as their running mate, they will lose the women vote come November. As distasteful as it is, I may have to vote for Donald Trump yet again. Pandering, pandering, pandering.

Richard Kohls, Pinellas Park

Where the buck should stop

Trump declares emergency | March 14

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, left, and Vice President Mike Pence, right, speaks during a news conference about the coronavirus in the Rose Garden at the White House. [ALEX BRANDON | AP]

After three years, Donald Trump’s presidential playbook remains simple: Take full, unabashed credit for anything that goes right and do not accept responsibility — and, instead, blame others — for anything that goes wrong. A most recent example from his press conference from the Rose Garden: “No, I do not take responsibility at all.” Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I prefer leaders whose philosophy is, ”The buck stops here.”

Charles Gonzalez, St. Petersburg

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