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Do we really?We know that to do but don’t do it | Column, Dec. 14The experts (and I am one) have been incorrect or at least inconstant on, among things, the efficacy of travel bans, surface sanitation, what is a safe distance, undelivered promises of case finding and contact tracing, a preference for the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) over rapid antigen tests for screening, indiscriminate testing and lockdowns, “safe at home,” school closings, relative attentiveness to the young versus the old in all aspects, several proposed therapies and recently perhaps one of the vaccines, the need for boosters, government vaccine mandates versus the green pass model (used elsewhere to greatly boost vaccination rates and minimize opposition) and testing without sufficient sequencing (thus missing two waves of variants already). The data upon which recommendations are based often has been sketchy, too.Therefore, I wish the columnist, Dr. James Hamblin, would explain why he thinks we know what to do? If we did, why is the United States still experiencing five times the 194-country average new case rate and three times the death rate? Shaming people who have been conditioned over two years to have some skepticism about professional guidance is unhelpful. What we really know is the need to make a personal risk appraisal — for self and others — and to use the available precautions, particularly vaccination and self-exclusion accordingly. This has never been a one-size-fits all disease. Think influenza, adapt to a long contest with the virus and recognize that real science is slower and more fickle than politicians and the media would have liked. Saying “it could have been worse” is not science.Pat Byrne, LargoFairness not always fairKamala Harris needs to get serious | Column, Dec. 13Recently, the Tampa Bay Times featured two columns criticizing Vice President Kamala Harris — one by Jonah Goldberg, another by Peggy Noonan. On the one hand, I applaud the Times for featuring pieces written by conservatives. It is not likely that the Wall Street Journal or Fox News will give as much space to a liberal columnist. On the other hand, I wonder why the Times feels it necessary to feature such conservative columnists without a corresponding rebuttal?The liberal and moderate media outlets seem to bend over backwards to prove their fairness. In doing so, they too often do the dirty work of the conservative establishment, which does not respond by featuring any point of view other than their own. The result, it seems to me, is that too many conservatives get away with major policy errors, while moderates and liberals get attacked from the left as well as the right.Robert Monroe, TampaThe angry voterDeSantis rails about racism teachings | Dec. 16Once again, the Republicans are choosing the issues they will continually and publicly flog, leading up to the next election. It doesn’t matter if these issues are huge and overriding or if they are rather insignificant. What matters is if they can infuse them with emotion of seemingly life-threatening proportions. The Republicans and their news outlets are very adept at keeping their people angry and scared. This kind of person votes. Democrats need to pay attention because, while numbers, facts and lectures about true and significant issues are the time-honored ways to get the word out — they don’t get the juices flowing.Tom Reid, SeminoleVictim statusDecoding DeSantis’ poke at the woke folk | Editorial, Dec. 17Our governor and his Republican colleagues are criticizing “wokeness” as a way of claiming victim status for themselves. They seem to believe that those who are “woke” to social and racial injustice will fill the airways and schools with radical ideas about equality and compassion. Gov. Ron DeSantis thinks parents should be able to sue schools if they suspect elements of critical race theory are being taught. Can we also sue if teachers are propagating the Big Lie, or making claims that the protest on Jan. 6 was peaceful? What if schools are teaching that there is no place for science in a global pandemic? Can we sue our houses of worship for preaching messages about equality and justice? Just asking.Robin L. Frank, TampaMy blue cityDecoding DeSantis’ poke at the woke folk | Editorial, Dec. 17While our illustrious governor is using his bully pulpit to stir up his base with phony claims of “critical race theory” and the Democrats’ hate for America, I am comfortably snug in my blue city surrounded by artists, musicians, live theater, thriving small businesses and a newly elected democrat mayor. My message to our governor? Keep your hands off St. Petersburg.Eileen Stafford, St. Petersburg
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