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I’m a black Floridian in the time of coronavirus. I’m scared for my family. | Letters
Here’s what readers have to say in Tuesday’s letters to the editor.
 
The Rev. Al Sharpton, left, hands food and masks to an elderly woman during a free give-away from his headquarters in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, after a new state mandate was issued requiring residents to wear face coverings in public due to COVID-19, April 18, 2020. The latest Associated Press analysis of available data shows that nearly one-third of those who have died from the coronavirus are African American, even though blacks are only about 14% of the population.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, left, hands food and masks to an elderly woman during a free give-away from his headquarters in the Harlem neighborhood of New York, after a new state mandate was issued requiring residents to wear face coverings in public due to COVID-19, April 18, 2020. The latest Associated Press analysis of available data shows that nearly one-third of those who have died from the coronavirus are African American, even though blacks are only about 14% of the population. [ BEBETO MATTHEWS | AP ]
Published April 20, 2020

Black people will have it worse

Racial toll of virus grows ever starker, data shows | April 19

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

The beach is good for my health

Florida beaches can open, with limits | April 18

A look at the beach near the Paradise Grille during a cloudy sunset at Pass-a-Grille beach on April 15, 2020 in St. Pete Beach.
A look at the beach near the Paradise Grille during a cloudy sunset at Pass-a-Grille beach on April 15, 2020 in St. Pete Beach. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

I walk the beach every other day with my wife here in Pinellas County. It is just the two of us and we go early and nobody bothers us. I am a lung cancer patient. And one of the best things for my lungs is salty sea air. It cleanses them so I get rid of lots of mucus. When I walk close to the water I can feel myself improving. The coronavirus attacks the lungs. We naturally have something in our backyard to help people keep their lungs cleansed. But knee-jerk politicians who got some bad press due to spring breakers decided they will now punish the thousands of seniors who walk the beach daily. This craziness needs to stop now. Just limit groups to four people and have those groups keep six feet apart. I am sure our police officers can count to four and open the beaches back up. You are torturing the people that you say you are protecting. We need some leadership with common sense and not knee-jerk politicians.

William Allard, Seminole

Wind and solar over oil and gas

The hard lessons of the ‘Deepwater Horizon’ spill | Column, April 19

In this April 21, 2010 file photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning.
In this April 21, 2010 file photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning. [ GERALD HERBERT | AP ]

Thank you for sharing the long article as well as the column by three University of South Florida researchers about the irreversible damages done by the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster. Considering this disaster and global warming due to fossil fuels, it is incomprehensible that we allow additional oil and gas leases. Wind and solar energy is now more than competitive with oil and gas, so rather than talk about the additional reporting, safety measures, and inspections that could make drilling less of a risk, we should be planning to end offshore drilling immediately.

Guy Hancock, Largo

The writer is a member of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Pinellas.