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  1. Opinion

Did you put off an elective medical procedure? Reschedule it | Letters

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

Elective surgeries are needed

Elective operations to resume | May 1

Now that Gov. Ron DeSantis has lifted the prohibition on elective procedures in Florida, it is important for individuals who have been putting off important tests and treatments to see their physicians for the care they need. While it was a necessary step to ensure Florida’s health care system was capable of handling the COVID-19 crisis, an unintended consequence was that many people with conditions ranging from abdominal pain to trauma stayed home instead of getting the early treatment that could minimize damage and improve patient outcomes. To prevent a second healthcare crisis, people need to know that physician practices have reopened in every part of the state with protocols in place to ensure that patients are cared for safely.

The Florida Medical Association, along with the American Medical Association and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have provided guidelines and checklists for physician practices to follow to ensure that patients are protected to the greatest extent possible. Requiring patients to wear face coverings, limiting non-patient visitors, and screening patients before in-person visits are among the new protocols that have been put into place. Testing of physicians and medical staff members has increased and enhanced sanitization procedures have been implemented.

Physician practices are taking these extra precautions to encourage their patients to continue obtaining in-person care when medical attention is needed — especially those with preexisting conditions that require follow-up care with a healthcare provider. Patients who have chronic medical problems need to have regular check-ups to make sure they are doing well. Postponing care because of the COVID-19 crisis puts patients at high risk for complications later and eventually could cause a treatable condition to become untreatable. The resulting complications could end up being worse than the COVID-19 disease

Ronald Giffler

The writer is president of the Florida Medical Association.

Protect nursing homes

Federal help needed in state nursing homes | Editorial, May 14

In the file photo shown, emergency personnel prepare to transport a patient by ambulance from the Freedom Square Seminole Nursing Pavilion on April 17, 2020 in Seminole. [DIRK SHADD | Times]

I appreciated your editorial on nursing homes. As someone who currently has a loved one residing in one in Pinellas County, I am very concerned that enough is not being done to protect the most vulnerable of our population. Not only should testing be done on a weekly basis for both staff and patients at every facility but my idea was to somehow employ live-in staff that would not go off premises so as not to contaminate and bring the virus into these populated and closed-off facilities where the virus easily can spread quickly. These nursing homes residents should not have to die alone and in this hideous way if we can prevent it.

Janet Clayton, Tampa

Finance is our problem

Fed chief warns of lingering slowdown | May 14

Multiple reports highlighted the growing rift between a rallying stock market and stumbling economy. While the recent rebound in stock prices appears V-shaped, the virus-devastated economy is heading toward the deepest downturn since the Great Depression.

This sharp contrast exemplifies what’s wrong with the economy: an oversized, rent-seeking financial sector disconnected from the real economy. The “too-big-to-fail” banks have become even bigger and interconnected. Regulators have failed to keep up with the increasing size of the financial sector and explosion of financial “innovation,” which artificially increases the complexity of financial products in ways that advantage insiders.

The rise of the finance industry has taken place at the expense of the real economy. By the 2010s, it had captured a whopping one-third of all corporate profits while creating only 5 percent of all jobs. “Financialization” is the root cause of many of the economic problems, including income inequality, growing household debt and various “bubbles.” It’s time to stop the drift toward an over-financialized economy.

Istvan Dobozi, Sarasota

The writer is a former lead economist at the World Bank.

Texting while driving? No

Distracted driving

Not to downplay the real threat of COVID-19, but I can say with certainty that I feel more at risk driving to do essential errands than I do contacting the virus. People are texting and driving more now than ever.

With so many people at home, this is no surprise. What is a surprise is how it is viewed as unreasonable to use hands-free technology and simply talk to acquaintances who are home via bluetooth or speaker phone functions.

If I contract the virus, chances are that I will survive. If I get hit by a distracted driver, chances are significantly higher that I will be injured or killed.

Rand Moorhead, St. Petersburg

Follow the rules

Restaurants standing by, ready to serve | May 13

Customers at Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill settle in for lunches and drinks on May 4, 2020, on Clearwater Beach. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]

Ten days after the reopening of Florida’s economy, I had a frightening experience picking up a carryout pizza. The restaurant was not taking any of the steps outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It was operating as if it was business as usual.

If businesses are not going to take the health and safety of their customers seriously during this era, then we as customers need to avoid them. Our state and local governments need to make the rules clear and need to enforce them. This is a matter of life and death for some of us until the transmission of COVID-19 ends and the pandemic is fully controlled.

Susan Drimmer, Indian Rocks Beach

It’s not the old baseball

Snell: I gotta get my money | May 15

In this May 1, 2019, file photo, Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell, right, is taken out by manager Kevin Cash, left, during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. [ORLIN WAGNER | AP]

I haven’t heard the health care, emergency response people and others complaining about their pay while still putting in more hours a week. I am sure Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell is still able to pay his bills, unlike thousands of other people who are still waiting for their first unemployment check. The “real” baseball from the old days is gone. It used to be a great game.

Ken Nykiel, Amherst, N.Y.