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I take real umbrage at the Nov. 28 letter using the fact that Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm hasn't had the time to meet with one state senator as proof that she must resign ("Time for a sacrifice," Readers Write).

Malcolm's appointment, announced in the beginning of 2018, was, according to this very newspaper, "met with rare and near-universal applause at the State Capitol, where lawmakers from both parties commended her political acumen and sterling credentials."

That same story stated she stepped up to lead the department as the opioid epidemic was ravaging Minnesotans and there was a giant backlog of complaints against senior care homes, among other challenges. Oh yes, and then she faced the pandemic — working tirelessly for all of us.

Didn't meet with one state senator. I think she was just a trifle busy, don't you think?

Julie C. Michener, Minneapolis


Our brother, Jim Lord, was a state senator (1972-1975) and then our Minnesota state treasurer (1975-1983). During his tenure as both, we don't recall any state official publicly complaining about another state official not initiating a meeting with them.

Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller is complaining because Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm did not contact him to meet until very recently. Then why didn't he contact her? She has been a little busy, working 24/7 to save lives. Let's be adults in the Legislature and not continue to dismiss women in government. We women, and men, are watching ...

Virginia Lord, Minneapolis, and Priscilla Lord, Edina


I couldn't disagree more with the letter writer who says that Malcolm should step down from her position. Although they have tabled this action for now, I have been deeply concerned about the demand of Republican legislators to fire the commissioner. Despite their persistent complaints, I haven't heard any specific reason why these legislators think she has failed our state and its citizens. Has she been too vigilant or too lax in addressing the scourge of COVID? Has she been too truthful about the facts and evidence, or has she promoted falsehoods about the severity of the virus or its possible remedies? Has she worked hard to put preventive measures in place and to keep all sectors and regions of our state safe, or has she favored the most powerful and provocative voices?

When we are facing not only the continuing threat of the delta variant, but also the entry of the omicron strain, why on earth should a faithful, truthful, tireless public servant be threatened with dismissal or be bullied into stepping down? What interests would that serve? Certainly not the common good.

Elaine Sloan, Golden Valley


Sick of mandates? But not death?

Republicans want to push back against Gov. Tim Walz's emergency powers because of the "mandate fatigue" of their constituents ("Walz's powers targeted by GOP," Nov. 26). I am so sorry Republican voters are tired of ... what exactly? Being required to wear a mask or get a vaccine that might prevent someone's death? What a terrible imposition!

In case you have forgotten, 9,500 Minnesotans have died from COVID. More than 780,000 Americans have died. They no longer have to worry about mandates.

How high will the body count be before their constituents have "mortality fatigue"? One million? Five million? One family member? Two family members? Will another 9,000 Minnesotans have to die before Republicans finally tell their constituents to stop whining and get a shot?

Gary Maher, Minneapolis


After reading the front-page article "Walz's powers targeted by GOP," I wondered why the GOP doesn't just try to make infectious diseases illegal. I mean, it would be just as effective in keeping Minnesota citizens safe from infectious diseases like COVID-19 as what the GOP is proposing now.

Wayne Ode, St. Charles, Minn.


'Personal choice' harms us all

Let me tell you a real-life story about why I resent the St. Paul Police Federation and agencies like them that resist COVID vaccination mandates because of "personal choice" ("St. Paul police sue over mandate," Nov. 27). Such folks' great desire for their selfish "personal choice" is depriving my 88-year-old father-in-law of a bed in his local hospital to which he was just rushed because of a severe bacterial infection. No beds were available locally just because anti-vaxxers thought their "personal choice" was so much more important than the good of the community. Thus Dad had to be transported 52 miles to find an available bed.

What is his 87-year-old wife going to do now to support him? She'll have to drive back and forth from their home all that way each day he is there. That says nothing about the extra time medical drivers and their ambulance had to spend for the transportation at this time when all medical facilities and personnel are far overworked ("Beds still at peak demand amid state's COVID surge," Nov. 27). Is your "personal choice" really worth all that?

Lucyan Mech, Lauderdale


It was both ironic and deeply troubling to read that St. Paul's police union is suing over the city's mask mandate on the same day the front page of the Star Tribune reported grave concerns voiced by health experts worldwide about a new COVID-19 variant. Most disturbing was the union's justification for its lawsuit: "We have no choice ... but to do everything possible to work on behalf of our entire membership and the citizens of St. Paul." In fact their refusal to be vaccinated puts the public and themselves at risk. A sicker and more ludicrous understanding of "personal freedom" is hard to imagine.

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Minneapolis


Wow, I wish this were over

And now, for a new word in my ever-expanding vocabulary: omicron. Oh, joy. It's in addition to the long line of terms that began with "coronavirus," replaced by "COVID-19." Additionally, there are EUAs, SARS-CoV-2, remdesivir, ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.

I have experienced expanding vocabulary and novel approaches in medical testing, wherein I could choose to either have my brain swabbed via my nostril or to spit in front of my laptop where a woman could coach me to keep spitting.

Then, last April or June, those of us who got vaccinated breathed in relief, optimism and joy, which lasted exactly five minutes. It had been a happy, albeit naive, moment. Then delta. Away sweet joy. Mask evermore. Booster up.

And now … (wait for it) … (drum roll) … omicron! Coming to a town near you.

Is there a number I can call, someone I can speak to?

[Numerous beeping sounds.]

Operator: Thank you for calling 1-800-IMSICKOFCOVID; how may I help you?

Me: Um, I'm really tired of this pandemic.

Operator: Uh huh.

Me: Please. Make it stop.

Operator: Sorry, no can do. Anything else?

Me: What do you mean, no can do? What good is this 1-800-IMSICKOFCOVID?

Operator: You call, you tell me you're sick of it, I listen.

Me: Hmm. Can I complain about anything else while I've got you on the line?

Operator: I'm here til 5 p.m.; you've got until then. Go ahead, get it off your chest. But I don't do sympathy.

[Seven hours later ...]

Me: OK, I guess that's it. I can't think of anything else.

Operator: Alrighty. Have a nice day! [Click.]

If you need to complain but try that number and it doesn't work, pick up your phone, pretend there's someone listening and complain all you want. That's all I've got. That, and a nod of agreement that this is really, really hard.

Sybil Axner, Minneapolis

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