U.S. falls behind

One in every 30 people in the U.S. has now been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. Cases and deaths are surging. Our infection rate is 5 times the world rate; the death rate is 4 times. Why is the most advanced country in the world suffering such tragic consequences?

Medical personnel are working heroically and with great sacrifice to care for patients. Disease experts and state and local officials are working tirelessly to stem the outbreak.

We the people, as a whole, are not cooperating. We are gathering together and not fully embracing guidelines meant to shorten the pandemic, save lives and avoid long-term health consequences.

While we struggle with the economic and health consequences of this pandemic, and our elected federal officials continue to be paralyzed by gridlock, other countries are moving forward. China recently signed a free trade deal with 14 Asia-Pacific countries. China’s COVID-19 rate is reportedly 1/10th of ours. We are losing ground rapidly to China and other countries.

Our many strengths and blessings are being squandered. U.S. exceptionalism is being chipped away. We have only ourselves to blame. I fear for my beloved country.

Steven Sedlet, Plano

Why deny the facts?

Why is it that the Texas political leadership, as well as other Republican leaders across the country, remain in denial and are unwilling to accept the fact that COVID-19 infection is rising rapidly, the beds in our hospitals are full or filling fast, and deaths are increasing? Why is the attorney general of Texas threatening the leadership in El Paso and other local authorities for attempting to address the overwhelming impact COVID-19 is having on health and, thus, the economy? Shouldn’t he be seeking solutions?

The governor has nothing to say, much like the president who has lost interest. What forces are in play with regard to this irrational behavior? When the “plague” struck centuries ago, there were no routes to flee its effects. However, we later learned that good public health could control outbreaks of dysentery and deaths in England. Have we not learned from history and thus, need to repeat our mistakes, hoping the next generation might learn from them?

Charles Rosenfeld, Dallas

Learn from our pain

I plead with everybody to heed the warnings and skip family gatherings during the holidays.

A few weeks ago, 12 of us gathered for the weekend in St. Louis to celebrate my father’s 99th birthday. Because of my father’s age everybody quarantined beforehand. While we were there, with the exception of his birthday dinner at a private room in a restaurant, we did not go out. The 12 of us stayed inside all weekend, watching football, playing games and eating just like the days before COVID-19.

On Monday, all 12 of us started exhibiting symptoms and by Thursday we had all tested positive. My father’s birthday turned into a super spreader event. Outside of wearing masks inside, we did everything you are supposed to do. We don’t know who was initially exposed. Maybe it was at a gas station, the airport, a hotel, etc. But the entire family got COVID-19.

Learn from our mistake and don’t have large family gatherings over the holidays. I know it is hard, but it is not worth the risk. Be safe. Be healthy.

Larry Goldsticker, Plano

Don’t give up

As the number of COVID-19 daily cases creates a new record every day, the death toll is rising. More than 1,000 Americans are dying of COVID-19 every day on average, a 50% increase compared to October. Even though it seems late, Congress should not give up on controlling the spread of the virus and should make battling COVID-19 their No. 1 priority.

COVID-19 has severe impact on the health of patients, education and the economy. It prevents patients with other health conditions, such as TB and HIV, from getting the help they need. I urge my elected officials to continue fighting COVID-19 with stricter measures and contact-tracing methods. Let’s end COVID-19 together!

Zhonghui Liu, Plano

Clinging to power

As the virus stages an out-of-control comeback, with deaths at 250,000 and rising, where are the leaders? Where are the people whose most important task is to protect the nation? Oh, they are searching for nonexistent voter fraud so that the election can be overturned. Of course. How silly of us to think that these people care about anything more than selfishly clinging to power.

Scott Kimball, McKinney

Where are the adults?

Where is Vice President Mike Pence? Isn’t he supposed to be in charge of the coronavirus task force? Donald Trump supporters said the virus would go away on Nov. 4 because it was only a Democratic lie to trick people into voting for Joe Biden. But people are still getting sick and dying, in record numbers.

Was I fooled by Trumpers who lied to me about the virus? Does that mean Republicans have also lied to me? Oh my, what a surprise! I hope I live long enough to see what an actual rational adult might do about this.

My voting history? For any rational adult. You should try it.

Jim Holman, Plano

Safety, not politics

Texas became the first state to surpass 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. Although Gov. Greg Abbott’s order requiring face masks and social distancing has been in effect for a while now, cases are rising. The president has set a poor example for U.S. citizens by refusing to wear a mask. He has disregarded people’s safety and instead used the mask issue as a tool to divide the nation.

Abbott, reportedly under pressure from the Trump administration, eased restrictions and opened businesses too soon. As a result, the health, wellness and safety of Texans was compromised. Likewise, Abbott’s proposed mandate (which was halted) that exempted people from wearing masks at the polling place became an issue of voter suppression and discrimination especially affecting Latino and Black voters.

Hopefully, Texans are putting aside politics on the mask issue. It is extremely important that our leaders set a good example and take actions that will lead the people to act safely. We cannot let politics influence our way of thinking when it comes to protecting everyone.

Andrea Escobar, Denton

Pass relief legislation

People are struggling financially as COVID-19 surges across the country. The Federal Reserve and economists say that without action by Congress, the U.S. economy is in trouble. Low-income renters need help now. They are more likely to have lost a job or income due to the pandemic. It is estimated that over 12 million renters could owe an average of $5,400 in back rent by December. Without emergency rental assistance to help tenants and landlords catch up on rent, millions will face eviction when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium expires at the end of this year.

With families struggling to put food on the table, any legislation must focus on the deep hardships that families are facing this holiday season. I’m calling on our Texas senators to do everything in their power to move Congress on a COVID-19 relief bill. Such a bill should include at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance, a boost in SNAP benefits, and at least $20 billion in emergency development assistance for organizations on the front lines like the Global Fund and Gavi. Low-income Americans need relief now. Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn must act in the best interests of Texans.

Bukekile Dube, McKinney

Don’t forget teachers

Gov. Greg Abbott recently outlined the groups that would receive the first round of COVID-19 vaccine in Texas. Why were teachers left off that list? They go into a classroom every day with many students whose families come from all walks of life. Then they go home to their own families. They can’t quarantine for two weeks when a student tests positive in their classroom. They come back to teach again the next day!

Patricia Buford, Fort Worth

Decisions have a price

Re: “Collin County’s grim milestone,” by John Quinn, Nov. 12 Letters.

If the solution to reducing COVID-19 deaths would have been a longer shutdown of our economy, then by that same logic should we not institute a national speed limit on all highways of, say, 45 mph because researchers from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that for every 5 mph increase in a highway’s speed limit, roadway fatalities rose 8.5%? Imagine how many lives could be saved by instituting just that one law!

But that would mean adding time and cost to everything that depends on transportation by road. Every decision comes at a price.

Jeff May, University Park

So very fatigued

COVID-19 fatigue? After nine months, millions of Americans would probably say yes. President Donald Trump fatigue? After four years, about 80 million voters have said yes. Unfortunately, it appears these two maladies will not soon “magically disappear.”

Jeff Foster, Carrollton

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