If ever there were an excellent example of the need for a national policy and plan to limit the spread of COVID-19, Sturgis could easily be at the top of the list. A front-page Aug. 3 article ("Sturgis revs up for throng at rally") covered community and business concerns and how having the annual motorcycle rally or not would affect those involved. It is an example of the "it's all about me" situation we find ourselves in.
We see ads on TV with the governor of South Dakota proudly proclaiming the state is on the side of business and industry. So I'm also guessing that little, if anything, will be done to enforce social distancing or make sure everyone is wearing a mask.
Why should we care if we don't attend? Well, the article left out a discussion of how the rally might directly affect people all over the U.S. As many as 250,000 bikers from all over the country are expected to attend the nine-day event. Even though your state is doing all it can to control the spread and you are doing your part, South Dakota will let Sturgis happen. South Dakota, Sturgis and the people who attend will be responsible for acting appropriately. Based on previous events, the chances of that happening are slim to none.
President Donald Trump has said numerous times he isn't responsible for what individual states, cities or individuals do. So we don't have a national plan or policies on combating the pandemic; we have guidelines and recommendations. Don't you wish food safety, air-travel safety, highway safety, air quality, water quality, and drinking-water regulations were handled that way?
The virus doesn't care about political boundaries. What happens in Sturgis could very well affect you in New Mexico or Tennessee or Washington, D.C. Until we all realize we are in this together, the virus not going to just go away, like Trump would like you to believe.
Dale Trippler, Blaine
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In looking to explain the tenacious hold that COVID-19 continues to have on our country, it is easy to point to someone like rodeo host Cimarron Pitzen as part of the problem ("Rebellious rodeo may face fines," Aug. 1). Indeed he is, and I applaud the attorney general for considering bringing enforcement action against Pitzen for violating an executive order limiting the size of public gatherings in Minnesota.
But there were others. Where were the police? The upstanding citizens of Effie, Minn.? Shouldn't they have spoken up? Where were the local church leaders? The Chamber of Commerce? I am dismayed that there was evidently no one in the area with courage enough to simply stand up and state the obvious. This is illegal. This is dangerous. This is wrong.
This was far less a case of government overreach and was much more a matter of citizen underreach.
Thomas Kendrick, Minneapolis
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The Anoka County sheriff seems to think that when it comes to an executive order to wear a face mask during a pandemic, "enforcement actions are not in anyone's best interest." ("Sheriff won't arrest mask scofflaws," Around the Metro, Aug. 2).
Does he enforce seat belt laws? Those laws are essentially for public health. And most people never encounter a situation where the seat belt saved them from injury or death. Just a few unlucky ones. Does he enforce DWI laws? Public health again. Most people who drive under the influence get home safely. Only a few unlucky ones don't. Or maybe the unlucky innocent people they run into. How about texting while driving? Primarily public health again. Consequences are a lot like those of DWI. What is different about the mask law? What is different about a scofflaw who might not know if he is contagious going out and increasing the risk to others of disease and maybe death?
Bruce H. Odegaard, Crystal
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I was very dismayed about the weak evidence presented by Gov. Tim Walz and other government individuals mandating that Minnesotans wear masks when inside public or business buildings. I actually looked forward to hearing some solid evidence pertaining to the COVID-19 outbreak in Minnesota. Instead what was given were emotional responses, opinions, and data produced by financial people at an investment banking firm. Where is the scientific data that a mask mandate is needed in this state?
The scientific data from the Minnesota Department of Health tells me that a mask mandate is not needed, based on a hospital capacity that has never been reached and a survival rate if a person contracts the disease of still more than 99%. Though the number of cases has spiked, this has not overwhelmed our hospitals nor caused a sharp increase in deaths. The spike in cases can be attributed, I believe, to a greater availability of testing.
Let me say that I am not opposed to people wearing a mask during this pandemic. What makes me most unhappy is that the governor does not believe Minnesotans can make intelligent decisions about where and when to do so. I am incredulous at comments that a mask mandate is needed to keep businesses open, that it's a cheap way to slow the spread, that people get used to wearing a seat belt and can get used to wearing a mask, that masks work in other states, and that we need to be ready for a "new normal." It is unthinkable to me that we cannot go back to our way of life as it was before COVID-19.
A mask mandate goes against one of the most sacred freedoms we have, which is to live our lives as we determine, not as the government determines. I've been through numerous epidemics and pandemics dating back to the 1950s; most of them were highly contagious, infected hundreds and thousands in Minnesota, and caused hospitalizations and even death. We never, as far as I can recollect, shut down the economy or had to live our lives differently.
I firmly believe Minnesotans can make intelligent decisions on wearing a mask as long as the state government is forthcoming with all the data and facts when giving information to the public, via the media, about the current virus. I do not believe it has always done so, and I also believe the media has contributed to the fear some Minnesotans feel.
Gary Brastad, Brooklyn Park
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I would invite the governor and all of the authors of the mask mandate to come work a 12-hour shift in a corrugated-box plant. Try to wear a mask for 12 hours while you do physical, manual labor in 90-degree-plus heat. You will likely spend the majority of your shift more than 10 feet away from the closest other employee, but according to the mandate you will still need to keep your mask on at all times. I'm sure this will be a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Amend the mask mandate. Science and common sense both dictate that a properly socially distanced employee should not be required to continually wear a mask.
Daniel Couillard, New Brighton
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A good friend posted recently that he was closing his restaurant in the south Minneapolis area. It is apparent that our governor has no respect for the hardworking individuals who take the greatest risks to serve the public and put their financial lives on the line. My friend is just one of 30% of these great entrepreneurs who will be closing their doors and leaving thousands unemployed.
There are many who support the governor's mandates who are in comfortable positions to ride this out and don't understand the pain and suffering of others. The consequences of all the mandates are being underreported, and I would challenge the Star Tribune to do some serious investigative reporting showing the relation of economic, social and health consequences.
David Speidle, Danbury, Wis.