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OpinionLetters

Virus exposes our vulnerabilities

A U.S. Army soldier and a New York

A U.S. Army soldier and a New York healthcare worker check in people for testing of the coronavirus at Stony Brook University on Thursday. Credit: James Carbone

Your op-ed “Trying to catch a viral tiger by the tail” [Opinion, March 16] states: “Three times this century a coronavirus has jumped the species barrier to inflict human population. Each instance has caught the global public health community off guard — including now.” Who is to blame for the world’s woeful lack of preparedness? One may point to the nation’s priorities.

According to its latest “Cost of War” report, the Pentagon spent $1.46 trillion on war-related costs between 9/11 and June 2017. That comes out to about $250 million a day over 16 years, or just over $91 billion a year. How can you justify these outrageous expenditures when we can’t establish new medical facilities nor provide necessary equipment in response to this national emergency which demands nothing short of a warlike response? How sad that President Donald Trump tells a group of governors: “Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment — try getting it yourselves.” New York, with just 53,000 hospital beds and 3,000 intensive care unit beds, is not ready for a pandemic. Maybe some of the funds spent on upgrading nuclear arsenals and building cost-overrun fighter aircraft should have been more prudently redirected to proactively prepare for the national emergency we now face.

Michael Scaturro,

Garden City

Retirees have bills to pay, but they are ineligible for unemployment funds. They are dependent on Social Security, and those who were fortunate to have retirement investments, as pushed by the government, are now at the mercy of the stock market, as illustrated by Matt Davies’ political cartoon [Opinion, March 19]. Many people, including retirees, must work part-time jobs but are not considered part of the work force for unemployment benefits. It’s finally time for the government to help retirees when the economy collapses.

James J. McCormick,

East Northport

Why not use cruise ships as temporary hospitals? They aren’t being used now, and we need extra beds. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers could help adapt them, and they could be spread around coastal cities. And river cruise ships could help interior cities. Navy hospital ships also could be deployed.

Scott Diamond,

Levittown

Let’s begin alternating days when people shop at supermarkets and big box stores. On the first day, people whose last name begins with A-M shop, and the next day N-Z shop, and it continues the same way [“Demand leads to empty shelves,” News, March 17]. A similar system helped during the 1973 gas crisis when you could only buy gas every other day depending on the first letter or number of your license plate.

Cheryl Conrad,

Selden

Now that we have to practice social distancing and stay at home during this pandemic, now is the time to bring back the drive-in [“6 feet can save lives in outbreak,” News, March 16]. Jones Beach, Robert Moses State Park, etc., are perfect venues for this. They have multiple open fields and just need large screens. Charge $5 to $10 per car, and people can listen through their radios and bring their own snacks. This would relieve families from being cooped up, entertain them, and bring revenue to New York State.

Chris Morales,

Glen Head

After all the talk from political pundits on cable TV calling for bailout plans for U.S. businesses, let’s remember that this money eventually must be paid back [“House passes relief package bill,” News, March 14]. Will this mean additional cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security?

If we are to help people in need, we should first help those who have lost their income, or who work in restaurants and bars, are child care workers or construction workers, and those who have lost their jobs.

The current crisis is a financial issue caused primarily by an extreme medical problem. If we follow the proper medical guidelines we will slow the spread of the coronavirus and financial matters will improve.

Michael Carew,

Coram

Regarding leadership and taking responsibility, the sign on President Harry S. Truman’s desk: “The buck stops here.” The sign probably hidden away from President Donald Trump’s desk: “Sorry, it’s not my buck.”

Paul Mila,

Carle Place

For once, Mr. President, you are not screaming (tweeting), “Fake news!” I am impressed with your newly professional behavior. What we all need now is a strong leader to bring us out of this scary time. You are delivering. We need a strong presence to allay our fears, tell us all to hunker down and together we will come through this as a better, healthier nation.

Marie Scalafani,

Holbrook

The first paragraph of your article “First 3 coronavirus deaths on LI, in Suffolk” [News, March 17] said that “the Catholic Church canceled Masses through Easter.” It should be worth mentioning that Protestant churches also canceled services. Jewish and Muslim services probably were also canceled. Your reporters should not be so parochial (in the provincial sense).

Sally Davies, Sea Cliff

The article “LI gun sales on rise” [News, March 19] had me closing my eyes and shaking my head. But I was also laughing. Are they afraid people will try to break into their houses to steal toilet paper? I can almost understand the rise in gun sales after 9/11 and the Sandy Hook tragedy, but this?

Susan Hennings,

Huntington

It is an outrage that President Donald Trump calls the coronavirus the “Chinese virus.” When synagogues and Jewish people are attacked, I say, “We are all Jews.” When Trump makes his outrageous, harmful statement, I say, “We are all Chinese.” When are we going to remember what happened before and during World War II?

Robert Souto,

Nesconset

First, I thank God that the most vulnerable people are my age group and not the youngsters. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not champing at the bit to see what awaits in the “great beyond,” but I have lived my life and wish that all children be blessed with that opportunity, too. I saw what happened when babies were struck down with infantile paralysis (polio), and it was horrible! Thank God for the Salk and Sabin vaccines!

Second, I hope that in recording deaths of people in my age group, they won’t be said to be caused by the virus alone but by a combination of factors including the coronavirus. Attributing a death mainly to the virus just heightens the fear running rampant through the world today. Let’s face it: An infected hangnail at my age could push me over the edge.

Chuck Darling,

South Setauket

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