Keep your distance
I have been trying to understand why so many Americans refuse to get vaccinated, refuse to wear masks and refuse to socially-distance from others. I can understand there can be medical reasons for the first two — but not third. I recently went to my local tax office for a disabled parking permit, which I wasn’t able to do online. I got there early, had my mask on and tried to stay six feet away from everyone. The vast majority of the people in line were not masked and were crowded right behind each other. I kept moving to the end of the line so I could keep my distance. Thankfully, the office was very efficient, and the line moved quickly. I do understand that as Americans we have certain rights and freedoms, but I was taught that with those rights and freedoms come responsibilities to our fellow citizens. Somewhere along the way, that lesson seems to have been lost by many. We’re all the poorer because of it.
Jeff Drier, New Port Richey
Unite, don’t divide
When England was under attack in World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill united his country in action against the German onslaught. Currently Florida is under attack by a virus that is killing more than 200 people each day, and yet our governor has repeatedly threatened the school boards that are doing their best to protect our vulnerable school children and their teachers. The extensive web of viral danger goes far beyond the classroom and includes the families, relatives and friends of the school children some of whom will certainly become infected. Currently Florida is classified as a COVID hot spot, and our risk of infection is extremely high. To make matters worse, many hospital hallways are clogged with patients suffering from COVID who are often forced to wait outside a hospital in EMS vehicles and then end up pleading for help in a hospital corridor. The pandemic has already put our medical community under such sustained stress that some doctors are revolting, and it is questionable whether our exhausted nurses and doctors will be able to deal with a new surge in patients — one that will almost certainly arise when our school children are stricken with COVID. The threats of our governor and his attempts to ban mandatory masks in schools is not only irrational but also morally irresponsible. With the judge’s ruling on Friday, hopefully the courts will help slow our descent into the abyss.
Peter Betzer, St. Petersburg
Making sense of the numbers
Bay area ambulance services near limits | Aug. 25
Thank you for your continuing coverage on the pandemic. I found this article about ambulance services being stretched to their limits along with the accompanying article about when to go to the hospital for COVID both informative and helpful. Please write an article about how to interpret daily and weekly COVID statistics. For example, I saw that case counts in Florida had leveled off in a few recent weeks, but I also saw that testing was down 44 percent. Is that a positive development (fewer people feeling the need to be tested) or is it a concern (if more tests were available, more cases would be reported)? Who determines how many tests are performed each day and can that number be artificially manipulated at will to make our state’s COVID situation look better or worse?
Kristine Johnson, Dade City
Drawing the lines
While pediatric ICUs throughout the state are filling with young COVID patients, the governor and his henchmen at the Board of Education seem hellbent on making bad decisions. Any continued actions against the growing numbers of school districts enacting common sense public health measures will, in the end, create more chaos and cost the state money. They also make clear where the lines of good and evil are drawn in this battle. I’ve never seen such stupid choices made on “behalf” of our state’s citizens.
Jerry Nepon-Sixt, Tampa