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This pandemic does not treat everyone equally | Letters

Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.

Black people will have it worse

April letter of the month | The winning letter is about the pandemic’s racial toll

Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that African-Americans, who represent about 13 percent of the population, comprise nearly 30 percent of those contracting COVID-19. As a black Floridian, I can say nothing in the world scares me more than this reality. It’s what drives a healthy fear to abscond myself and my family from public places. We go nowhere except for the store, where only my wife or I shop, having a mask, gloves and the mindset to move as fast as we can.

This is serious for us, as it is for most Americans, but I know whenever there’s been a major travesty in this country, blacks have had it worse. During the Great Depression, which ultimately gave opportunities to many poor whites to gain some level of wealth, African-Americans were left out and continued to struggle.

Therefore, because coronavirus has ransacked our economy, I know what will happen to us. What’s worse is we live in a state where the governor has decided to ease restrictions, making it more dangerous for black people. We will continue to lose our life and wealth, and who will save us? How will I be able to protect my family? How will my three black sons survive in a time where this virus will impact us for years to come?

I was remarkably impressed with our mayor and Hillsborough County commissioner Les Miller for enforcing a curfew. But I feel now the things that will greatly improve my community will somehow always fall short of what should happen.

Kenneth Hawkins, Lithia

Who does this benefit?

State list blocks key details | May 7

The list of deaths released Wednesday by Florida officials was heavily redacted. This is the first page of the list. [Florida Department of Law Enforcement]

Qui Bono? “Who benefits” in Latin? Who benefits from a redacted list of Florida COVID-19 deaths? Why would people who are not from Florida but died in Florida not be on the list? Who benefits? Maybe someone trying to downplay the virus? What is Gov. Ron DeSantis hiding? My sister is a doctor in a downtown Philadelphia hospital. She says this is no hoax. I think the 70,000 plus deaths support that premise.

Terrence Callahan, Crystal Beach

When will we learn?

How to prepare for the pandemic

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Republican lawmakers, in the State Dining Room of the White House, May 8, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) [EVAN VUCCI | AP]

As a nation, we have been woefully unprepared for major events in our history. We were unprepared for World War I, the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression, World War II and for how to fight in Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. Similarly, we were not prepared for our coronavirus attack, despite years of warnings. In all these situations, we have had to play catch-up. In other instances, we did away with programs that were keeping us safe from financial disasters, such as the Glass-Steagall Act, that would have helped save us from the financial disasters of the Great Recession.

With regard to our present health and financial disasters, the Trump administration claims President Barack Obama failed to prepare for our present situation. This conveniently overlooks the fact that the Obama administration left a document pointing out steps the Trump administration would need to take to deal with our current plight. It would be interesting to see the recommendations contained in that document.

Don Hehir, Tampa

One small thing to change

TIA’s pandemic change of plans | Column, May 3

Empty passenger boarding bridges are pictures with a Delta airplane in the background at Tampa International Airport on May 7, 2020 in Tampa. TIA travel has dropped by 97 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic which translates to a huge dollar amount loss. This is more than the loss after 9-11. [DIRK SHADD | Times]

The recent column by Joe Lopano, the CEO of Tampa International Airport, about ‘‘pandemic change of plans’’ reminded me of the only pet peeve I have about our great airport. They have spent over $1 billion remodeling the airport but have yet to put in hands-free water bottle fillers. So we have been left to push a button on a fountain that puts out warm water to fill our low-cost, environmentally friendly bottles we bring with us. Perhaps with the awareness of the additional benefit of less viral exposure, Joe and his team can make this customer-friendly, public-health benefit take flight?

Dan Eberts, Largo

Don’t forget about the elderly

N.Y. nursing home sees 98 resident deaths | May 3

I applaud and thank the Tampa Bay Times for pursuing the impact of COVID-19 on long-term care residents. A single nursing home seems to account for nearly half of all COVID-19 attributed deaths in an entire local county. The epidemic in Seattle, and likely more of the initial hot spots, commenced in nursing homes. Over 80 percent of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in persons past retirement age. Did we do too much to protect the non-elderly from the non-elderly, but too little to protect the old from the young?

Pat Byrne, Largo

Bring us together, not apart

Encouragement from the top

World famous chefs, celebrities, athletes and ordinary citizens have performed extraordinary acts of generosity and sacrifice during this time of need. Appreciation for those on the front lines, for those in support roles, and for long unappreciated teachers is coming from every segment of our country except one. Has President Donald Trump said or tweeted much thanks, or sympathy, or empathy for those who died or those who tried to save them? Has he ever had a thought of “we” in anything he has said or done? In times of national crisis, presidents have brought us together with their words and deeds in fireside chats or talks meant to unify and encourage. We need that now.

Carl Zielonka, Tampa

Canadians need more time

Canadian snowbirds could get more time to roost in Florida | Sep. 19

The economies of Canada and Florida go together like, well, palm fronds and maple leaves, as seen outside the Sweetwater RV Resort on Chancey Road in Zephyrhills. (Times file photo) [KATE CALDWELL | Tampa Bay Times]

Gov. Ron DeSantis had proposed increasing the time limit that Canadians can stay in Florida to up to eight months. Given the financial impact of COVID-19, would this be a good time to implement the change to increase the financial contribution of these snowbirds to our economy?

Ed O’Neill, Largo

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