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It sure was disheartening to wake up on May 20 and find out all the sacrifice, lost jobs and lost businesses have been for next to nothing after reading “Virus pipeline to elder care” (front page). It absolutely blows my mind that our governor did something as idiotic as putting COVID-positive elderly people back into nursing homes. Although his constant rhetoric would indicate differently, our hospitals haven’t come close to being overrun. In fact, most of them were never even half full. So why put infected people next to our most vulnerable? It’s like putting a fox in a hen house and something any intelligent plan would look to avoid.

Dare I say that if President Donald Trump had done anything this foolish, people would be losing their minds. Roughly 80%, actually higher according to most studies, of our population has very little to fear from the virus, yet we quarantine them only to seed a nursing home with the virus. Nice plan! It’s no wonder why Minnesota has the highest percentage of long-term care deaths among its totals in the entire country, as Gov. Tim Walz apparently doesn’t value them.

Florida has a much higher elderly population and a fraction of the deaths per capita we have, but it actually had a plan to keep them safe. Instead of making up for his mistakes by punishing everyone else with overreaching restrictions, maybe Walz can actually protect those who need it.

Jeff Schneider, Otsego

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I can’t stand it anymore! Why do we continue to use the number of COVID-19 deaths (actual and probable) as a meaningful metric when the vast majority (28 out of 32 deaths on May 21) occur in closed-space environments such as nursing homes? How can this possibly reflect the progression of the virus in the general public as well as changes that may result from opening things up? And while we’re at it, why not remove the moniker of “probable” to nursing home deaths by testing post-mortem to verify the diagnosis to keep the data clean?

Jim Halvorsen, Red Wing, Minn.

REOPENING GYMS

Once again, Goliath crushes David

The governor’s recent decision to not allow gyms to open in the near term will cause dozens if not hundreds of small gyms to close permanently. Given their cost structure, the large national chains would probably prefer that gyms remain closed until more than 50% capacity is allowed. However, small gyms can continue to make the lease payments even with more restrictive capacity levels.

Small class-based gyms in particular should be allowed to open with attendance restrictions. A class-based workout ensures much more predictable traffic flows and is much easier to control movement and maintain safety than an open, machine-based gym. I was most disappointed to hear that 50 people can gather on a patio to drink beer, but healthy individuals cannot workout in a gym with much greater distance and safety protocols in place. Of course, as with retail stores, the eventual winners in this will be the large national gym chains.

Dennis Nisler, Shoreview

STATE RAISES

You want us to pay for this?

So the guy who works for the state doing budgets says we can’t change the fact that state employees will get their raises? Wow, big surprise there. (“State to honor raises in contracts,” May 21.) I guess everyone else who is losing their jobs and businesses can pay for it.

R. Arens, West Lakeland

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Let me be sure I get this right. The Minnesota GOP wants to dishonor a government promise to middle-class workers by reneging a labor agreement so that it can lower the deficit so, eventually, it can give tax cuts to upper-class Minnesotans. Have I got that right?

Doug Berdie, Minneapolis

FOSTER CARE

Kids need to see parents — in person

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought vast changes to our lives in a short period of time. A part of these changes means I get to spend more time with my son.

For some children in Minnesota’s child-welfare system, COVID-19 means they are no longer able to see their parents. In some counties across the state, in-person visitation has been all but banned for children in foster care and their parents. Some families have resources to support remote communication, but for infants in particular, Skype is not the same as being held and nurtured by a parent.

Because Minnesota’s child welfare system has extreme racial disparities, policies that prevent family visitation disproportionately impact families of color.

Regular and consistent visitation is the greatest indicator of a family’s potential to successfully reunify after a time apart in the child-welfare system. For very young children, the attachment developed during this time is essential to their lifelong health and stability. Federal guidance issued to states encourages them to maintain safe in-person visitation whenever possible for families in this system.

After more than nine weeks of staying at home and social distancing, we are developing strategies to safely allow businesses to reopen. During this time day care centers in Minnesota have remained open.

Minnesota’s values have shined during this time — including helping families remain safe and together. We cannot open Minnesota back up for business and yet not allow our families to reopen as well. Our collective innovation and resolve can help us do this safely.

Joanna Woolman, Minneapolis

The writer is director at the Institute to Transform Child Protection at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

TRUMP

One vaccine is coming soon

Scientists tell us that when the seasonal flu arrives in late fall, it is likely to complicate our ability to contain COVID-19. Unfortunately, we are already being plagued by a confounding virus that is making COVID-19 far worse than it otherwise would be. That virus is Covfefe-45. Covfefe-45 is highly contagious and attacks the brain, rendering it incapable of rational thought. This virus is so endemic and virulent that isolation strategies such as social distancing, self-isolation, or avoiding certain Twitter feeds are virtually possible to implement and sustain. The good news is that unlike COVID-19, the Covfefe-45 virus has a well known cure that will, in fact, be available before the end of the year.

Steven M. Pine, Hopkins

STAYING AT HOME

I haven’t been bored in months!

I have always been blessed with an abundant amount of inefficiency, but retirement last year really upped my game. Now I find myself something of an inefficiency guru.

Honing your inefficiency skills can be crucial at this time. Inefficiency can be key to surviving our current sheltering-in-place hardship. I never have too much time on my hands, I don’t have cabin fever, and in fact, I really don’t know where the day goes!

Here are some simple introductory steps to help you become more inefficient: Take out all trash and recycling a piece at a time, no matter how small. Start checking the mail often, and well before you know it will arrive. Cook recipes that could possibly scorch and stir them constantly for hours. Try to eradicate the dandelions in your yard manually. (This can take years.) Start garden plants at home, kill them off by overwatering, repeat as necessary.

Start simply. And remember you can’t be wonderfully inefficient overnight; that would be too efficient.

Ron Bergantine, White Bear Lake

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