Cruising away from COVID
To help cruise lines, repeal law banning vaccination passports | A South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial, May 14
We’ve booked a summer cruise on Celebrity out of St. Maartin. We feel safe boarding a ship where everyone has been vaccinated. Of course, I would rather have sailed out of Tampa (or anywhere in Florida) but Gov. Ron DeSantis has mandated no “vaccine passports.” Without the cruise line being able to confirm vaccinations, there is no way I would feel confident spending a week in such an enclosed situation. I remember the cruise horrors of last March and have no wish for a repeat. The governor needs to reconsider what is in the best interest of his constituents.
Sheila Wasserman, St. Petersburg
By any other name
Herd immunity is no longer the goal’ | Column, May 14
I keep a list of unfortunate terms applied to the pandemic, and “herd immunity” is high on that roll. As the essayists note, the term is misleading. In any case, we will need a different set of strategies to respond to the altered state we’re now in. These will include, but not be limited to, availing the smaller numbers to re-visit the containment efforts which we were unable to effectuate before; greater use of antigen testing to more quickly and effectively shield the most vulnerable and to get them to pre-hospital care; less dependency on the social measures; and shifting vaccination from a campaign mode to a routine norm with boosters and reformulations and perhaps some requirements.
I anticipate a shift, even as I recognize that the current priority must remain on bolstering population immunity levels. However, one chooses to call this and whether it is labeled a goal matters little. It is the measured effect which matters, along with the understanding that absolutes are unobtainable and unnecessary to achieve a manageable condition. I still appeal for a graph showing vaccination and disease rates (not raw numbers) side by side. Pictures tell a thousand words, motivationally. And as a recent editorial noted, excellently, we still need to move the attitudinal needle toward the metal one — the one on a syringe. We can parse terms later.
Pat Byrne, Largo
Trump played a part
‘Great day for America’ | May 14
This is a big headline story, for sure. I couldn’t help but notice that a lot was said about President Joe Biden’s speaking to the American people about this great feat of medical innovation, but nothing about the Trump administration, whose efforts brought us these vaccines in record time. Certainly not “fake” news, but darn close. I can’t imagine that this headline article would have been written with similar wording if Trump were still president. No wonder the mainstream media has a lower confidence rating than the Congress.
Earl Jeup, Wesley Chapel
The mask falls away
‘Great day for America’ | May 14
Seriously, people are still dying from COVID-19; that is not victory. Seeing the president and vice president dancing down the sidewalk at the White House without their masks was a disgrace. We have a long way to go before we should be going without a mask. Do you really think that only those who have been vaccinated will be without a mask? This change has given everyone the excuse to stop wearing masks whether they have been vaccinated or not. Likely the only ones wearing masks these days will be those who have been vaccinated. The numbers are going to soar, and we will have to start all over again wearing masks for real. Just look at the numbers. This is not even close to being over and now no masks! I cannot believe this is actually happening. Most of us have been very diligent and being careful; but now, there is no hope!
Judy Lavaron, St. Petersburg
Put a price on carbon
DeSantis signs bills on sea-level rise | May 13
We need to stop the cause of climate change, not just send money to cities to cope. Stopping climate change means phasing out the use of carbon fuels; their use is the cause of planetary warming and the threats to Florida. Price carbon. Slowly raise the price. Return the 100% of the money collected to citizens monthly. These are the key elements of a policy which will stop carbon dioxide emissions by incentivizing change by businesses and individuals away from carbon fuels. It will also stimulate the technology development needed to speed this process. States and cities cannot do this. Only the Congress can by passing the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. Enactment would cut emissions by 30% in the first five years alone, improve our health and save billions in Florida taxes which will otherwise be needed to address rising sea levels and hurricane damage from larger storms.
Mike Caldwell, Palm Harbor
Don’t waste food
No free school lunches for wealthy students | Column, May 14
Go to a school lunchroom, and watch an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, orange, juice, etc., being dumped into a garbage can. Back in the classroom observe youngsters’ backpacks brimming with soft drinks, snack foods and desserts. Students are required to make a selection considered nutritious — good idea. But a child can not be forced to eat the meal and they are not allowed to give the food away. Indeed, many of the children appear to live in poverty. How parents or guardians choose to spend their resources is their right. However, I would rather my tax money be used where it is valued and valuable.
Ann Whitehead, Bartow
A good word
How I wound up with a wound from heteronyms | Column, May 13
Today, with great delight, I read the article by John Ficarra and his love of heteronyms. I love the word play he used to describe what the word meant. I have been a “word nerd” for a very long time, so that made his column especially enjoyable. Keep up the good work of bringing new and innovative writers to your pages.
Barbara Baughman, Largo