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  1. Opinion

Coronavirus gives us a chance to put the ‘reset’ button on our lives | Letters

Here’s what readers are saying in Thursday’s letters to the editor.
"If you live anywhere else other than St. Petersburg in the winter you're nuts," Parker Reis said while relaxing with his feet in the water and reading a book at Lassing Park on Feb. 3, 2020 in St. Petersburg. [DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times]

It’s time to learn what matters


I’ve been thinking about the trapped, hopeless feeling most of us have, not knowing when the current state of self-isolation, social distancing and general overall fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus will end. I read on a daily basis the frustrations people have over not being able to work, to come and go as we please, to spend time with family or friends. At the same time, we are witnessing the selfless dedication of the medical community as they put their health, and that of their families, on the line every day around the world. Maybe we don’t truly acknowledge their sacrifice until it’s our care or a loved one’s that is in jeopardy.

This past year, my family has lost a husband, a mother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle, a step-mother and countless friends, leaving holes in the heart that will never completely heal. In these unconventional and unprecedented times, is it not an opportunity for self-reflection, to keep one’s priorities in check, to stop racing through our days with our own agenda as the focus with no regard for anyone else?

It seems to me that we’ve been given time to push the “reset” button on our lives, to realize what is important and what is just noise. People around the world are experiencing the same fear, panic and uncertainty. We all have the responsibility to do our part by self-isolating and social distancing. To those who refuse and continue to be ridiculously selfish, know that every day you think only of yourself, the rest of us remain quarantined, prolonging the current state of affairs. Remove your head from your keister, get in the game of life and think of someone other than yourself. You might become a better person.

Susan Hoffritz, Dade City

Lessons of pandemics past

A Pakistani health worker gives polio vaccine to a child in Quetta, Pakistan, Jan. 2, 2017.

“We’re following the doctor’s orders.” That’s what my mother told me when we were going through another pandemic, the polio outbreak in the early 1950s. I had to rest in bed instead of going outside to play, which was bitter medicine for a 6-year-old. But I persevered and found myself making drawings to distract me from my enforced seclusion. Those drawings were the genesis of a career in art years later. I realize the president is anxious to change the channel with obsessing over the COVID-19 pandemic, but I advise listening and following the advice of the professionals who are best suited to monitor the situation. Now, nearly 60 years from my quarantine with polio, I am active and walking and running. Had I not followed my doctor’s advice, I may have experienced the full effects of the polio like so many in those dark days. My advice to the president is to follow doctor’s orders.

George Chase, St. Pete Beach

Older may indeed be wiser

With the president’s push to get all America working, regardless of the death toll to older Americans, here’s a point to ponder: The average age of Nobel laureates, across all prize categories, is 59, with the oldest at 90. This just might be the brain pool that devises a coronavirus vaccine.

Gregory Matthews, St. Petersburg

Everyone is worthy of life

In this Feb. 27, 1941, file photo, President Franklin D. Roosevelt speaks on the radio from the Oval Room of the White House. [HENRY GRIFFIN | AP]

My father’s generation became known at the “greatest” by their success in destroying Nazi Germany. The Nazi philosophy included the idea that they would and should decide who is worthy of living. Our nation has rightly honored these brave men and women as heroes. Sadly, most have gone to their ultimate rewards. I believe we need these heroes now to put down this despicable idea that our elderly are not worthy of life. Who will they come for next?

Patrick Conrey, Spring Hill

Don’t wait for coronavirus to spread

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is seen during his daily coronavirus briefing, March 25, 2020. [The Florida Channel]

Gov. Ron DeSantis refuses to lock down the state, stating that the impact this action would have outweighs the consequences we would suffer otherwise. He mentions the counties that have few or no active cases. Does he want to wait for the coronavirus to spread and grow to the point that our health-care workers, health facilities, first responders, law enforcement and the National Guard are totally exhausted? He says for the elderly and the most vulnerable to stay in and isolate, but some grandparents live with younger family members who are still having to go to jobs. I am 69, and I have to help take care of my 96-year-old father, and he has home health-care workers who visit, which could spread the virus. This crisis is spreading rapidly, and we need to attack it as aggressively as we can to shorten its life and stop the spread. The worst consequence of not locking down the state are all the lives that will be lost if this action is not taken sooner than later.

Nancy Barnes, Mulberry

Thanks, Tampa Bay Times

Like many Americans, lately, I’ve spent more time watching the news than is probably healthy. For obvious reasons, I don’t trust anything that President Donald Trump says, so I balance television news with news from other sources. I do trust the stories printed in the Tampa Bay Times. Our community is lucky to have an accurate, affordable source of relevant, fact-based news. Thank you to everyone who writes, edits, publishes and delivers your paper.

James Julian, Tampa

Use your time wisely

A shopper pays for packages of toilet paper and hand towels at a Costco warehouse where a limit of one of each type of paper purchase was in place in response to the run on supplies as fear of the the coronavirus spreading continues upward, March 23, 2020, in Lone Tree, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) [DAVID ZALUBOWSKI | AP]

I have never seen the panic on groceries quite like this. The produce aisles are full, but the meat and paper product ones are empty. I personally don’t eat much meat. I don’t plan on traveling either, even though gas is cheap. I’ve been keeping busy with home projects and the many things that get overlooked, like house work, gardening, waxing the cars and organizing our spaces. I plan to use the time to be constructive and seize the opportunities it brings. It’s a great time to show your kids that when life throws you lemons, you just make lemonade .

Hal Batey, St. Petersburg

And yet, here we are

An employee of the National Theater displays a face mask in a costume workshop in Prague, Czech Republic, March 19, 2020. [PETR DAVID JOSEK | AP]

If you had told me before 2016 that medical professionals would be using homemade masks made by home sewers (and glad to have them!), and hobbyists would be working to crowd-source printed parts for ventilators, while a reality TV star sat in the White House and verbally attacked journalists asking reasonable questions, I’d have never believed it. Yet, here we are.

Tracy Fugleberg, Tampa

Social distancing at the lectern

In this March 13, 2020, file photo Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, adjusts the microphone to speak during a news conference on the coronavirus with President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) [EVAN VUCCI | AP]

At the daily news briefing, President Donald Trump is standing at the lectern along with all the officials. They express the need for social distancing, but all of them are bunched-up, back to back, shoulder to shoulder, all within 6 feet of one another. What a horrible example.

Jon D. Sommer, Clearwater Beach

Listen to the experts

The battle with COVID-19 will not be won by economic forecasting or political pundits. It will be won by medical science and following proven medical protocols. We should be listening to the medical experts who have their focus on our health and not the politicians who seem to be focused on the economic and political fallout.

Anthony Edl, Odessa