Half measures don’t work
The new delta variant is resurgent among the unvaccinated, but many who have been fully vaccinated, particularly older people, are being infected. My wife and I are among them. We religiously wore masks and practiced social distancing from the start of the outbreak — even after vaccination. We were careful. We limited our contacts to fully vaccinated people. However, we foolishly let our guard down at a Lightning playoff game and became infected.
My wife, who is 10 years younger, experienced very mild symptoms. I was not so lucky. I experienced low-grade fever, sweats, total loss of energy, general weakness, persistent cough, great difficulty breathing, cognitive decline, dizziness and an almost total loss of appetite. I was scared. Before hospitalization, we went to Tampa General Hospital for experimental monoclonal antibody infusions, which initiated my slow recovery.
Twenty-two days after infection, I finally tested negative. I am weak but recovering. COVID-19 is real. The vaccines work, but are not and were never intended to be perfect. At 81, I am sure that, without the vaccine, I would be dead instead of recovering. I have seen people who refuse to be vaccinated because vaccines are “experimental”; that is nonsense. Hundreds of millions of people are now vaccinated. Based on my experience and age, I will be first in line for a vaccine booster shot when it becomes available.
It is tempting to blame my infection on irresponsible, self-indulgent people who refuse to accept any responsibility for those they share the world with, but I will not. I took a risk I didn’t need to take and paid the price. Please quit listening to anti-vaccine propaganda. Do yourself and everyone you contact a great favor — get vaccinated, wear a mask, social distance and don’t be impatient. We know that half-measures don’t work.
Mike Pheneger, Tampa
A new fan
I was never a Tom Brady fan. I’m not sure if it was “deflate-gate” or seeing a photo of his MAGA cap in his locker. But then I watched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers appearance at the White House with President Joe Biden and heard Brady’s not-so-subtle digs: “A lot of people didn’t think we could’ve won. In fact, I think about 40 percent of the people still don’t think we won.” Now I’m a fan.
Eileen Stafford, St. Petersburg
Utilities ask to charge more in fall | July 22
I just received my recent TECO statement, and the company kindly attached a few charts that presented their position and proposed rate increases for our electric service. I was a little disturbed about the way the data sheet was presented. For the basic monthly service, we now pay $15.05. The proposed new rate is presented as a daily rate instead of the current monthly rate. The proposed new rate is 70 cents a day. Most people know we have an average of 30.42 days per month. Multiplying this 30.42 x $.70/day will yield $21.29 per month. That’s a staggering 42% increase in basic service fees. When the Public Service Commission reviews this rate request, I hope that TECO’s request is denied until the company presents real data and the justification for any increase in cost to customers.
Asa Donaldson, Winter Haven
Focus on Florida
DeSantis sees no emergency | Jan. 22
Gov. Ron DeSantis has decided that Red Tide and the coronavirus are both under control, so he can focus on Florida issues like Cuba and the border with Mexico. I understand the ties to Cuba, but DeSantis is encouraging the military to take over the country. As for Mexico, Florida does not border it. Helping out at the border should be a national issue, and it should not involve the governors of states that don’t actually border on Mexico. On the other hand, Red Tide will have a huge impact on tourism, which is a major industry in Florida. The governor should focus his efforts on Florida. That is what we pay him to do.
Dave Hinz, Clearwater