On COVID, it’s time for a hard accounting of what went wrong | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Sunday’s letters to the editor.
The large testing site at Raymond James Stadium in December last year..
The large testing site at Raymond James Stadium in December last year.. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Mar. 21
Updated Mar. 21

On COVID, ask why

Cost, losses beyond belief | March 14

The toll of COVID-19 staggers and saddens. However, what I find beyond belief is that we persist with accounting and resist accountability. Vaccination appears to be denting death rates among those with the highest vaccination rates. This is a pandemic which will be suppressed, but not eradicated. There is much, besides pursuing herd immunity, which we should have done and which we still should do to spare life.

To obtain this reset, we must transition from describing the sensational what happened to asking the still vital why it happened. Apply the average death rate of 193 other nations to the United States and COVID-19 ought to have killed about 94,000 Americans, instead of 534,315. Or the virus should have killed 22,122 had we performed as well as several top tier countries, or about half of our actual casualties had we merely matched the rates of Canada, Germany and a number or merely average pandemic managers.

Several studies have shown that up to one-third of the excess mortality over the past year may be attributable to the effects of the measures used to combat the pandemic, rather than the disease itself. The costs were not simply economic, educational and social. When one is manifestly on the wrong route, it is time to stop and ask directions.

Pat Byrne, Largo

Lower the temperature

Tim Scott is doing the Republican Party a huge favor. The rest of us, not so much | Column, March 13

Columnist Leonard Pitts’ capacity for deductive reasoning is sorely lacking. Not only does he fail to understand what “woke supremacy” is — political correctness on steroids — he fails to recognize its significance.

I did not see the MSNBC interview in question, but when I read Pitts’ column I knew immediately what Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., meant. I applaud his courage in making the statement. We need more men and women of like mind to speak out and lower the heat of the cancel culture gripping both left and right before it boils over again. We do not need another January 6th capitol invasion.

Daniel J. Hill, Tampa

What socialism isn’t

Want to know what socialists really think? Ask one | Letters, March 15

A recent letter writer seems to think that socialism is “Medicare for all, tuition free college, and an end to forever wars.” That does not sound like socialism to me. The textbook definition of socialism is a place where the state owns the facilities and all the workers are government employees. In the United Kingdom, for instance, medical facilities are owned by the government and the medical and administrative staff work for the government. Medicare for all is just government insurance for all, not socialism. As long as you can choose a private insurer, then I don’t see the problem.

Do we have socialized medicine in the U.S.? Of course we do. It’s called the veterans health care system and the military health care system. The facilities are owned by the government and the medical and administrative staff are government employees. Does it work? The vast majority of veterans (like me) and military personnel think so. Would it work for everyone else? I doubt it, and I would be against it, but let’s be careful about how we define socialism.

Ron Scoggins, St. Petersburg

Smart plastic legislation

What to know about Florida’s 2021 legislative session | Feb. 25

In Florida, when I stare at the beautiful coast, I often see it littered with all types of plastics. What upsets me is knowing that other people have the same thoughts, and we have the ability to change this, but forget our voices. To start finding that voice, we must re-address this to our government, who play a critical role in alleviating the single-use plastic pollution problem. It starts with telling our representatives and senators to cosponsor state House and Senate bills like HB 6027, HB 1563, SB 594 and SB 1348. These either focus on repealing the preemptions on single-use plastics, or tell the state Department of Environmental Protection to update its plastic bag report. It is time to rise-up, and use our voices, since taking care of the environment is ensuring all of our futures. We need to tell our legislators to rise above and break free from plastics.

Sanaa Ali, St. Petersburg

Suppressing opportunities

Florida senators advance bill eliminating drop boxes and limiting vote by mail | March 10

So Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, an undertaker who thinks he knows everything about creating a successful career, wants to penalize high-achieving college students who seek insight, discernment and communication skills by studying the arts and humanities. Of course he does — if only to limit the number of broadly educated voters who can see through his empty rhetoric and self-serving schemes. Voter suppression is already a strategy of today’s Republican party. Apparently, educational suppression is not far behind.

Jim Harper, Tampa