During this very difficult period, it is so very important to properly equip and protect our health care professionals who are in the vanguard of our struggle against the coronavirus.
Nurses are putting their lives on the line to save lives. But alarmingly, they do not all have adequate protective equipment. They are getting exposed, getting sick and being quarantined. Many nurses have died.
More than 200 doctors and nurses across the globe have been lost to this pandemic.
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We are losing our health care workers at the worst possible time. We can’t expect our nurses to work without the proper equipment in a job that is already stressful because of understaffing, high rates of workplace injury and other occupational hazards.
The situation in long-term care and correctional facilities is especially grave. Some of our Illinois Nurses Association members work in correctional settings, where the disease can spread quickly among thousands of inmates. They are being given masks that look like dryer sheets and provide no protection against the spread of droplets that carry the virus.
We have already seen an outbreak at Stateville Prison that affected nearby hospitals. If outbreaks occur in more prisons, there are not enough intensive care unit beds, ICU nurses and ventilators to care for patients. This is a potential humanitarian crisis.
Our health care workers are ready and willing to battle the coronavirus. It is imperative that we provide them with the proper tools.
Avery Gerstein, board of directors, Illinois Nurses Association
Shop local to help small businesses survive
All of us are wondering whether we will get COVID-19, and if we do, whether we’ll survive.
A commentator recently wondered if the only retailers to survive the pandemic will be Walmart, Amazon and Costco. If so, they would then have monopoly power to jack up prices and pay low wages, with poor or even dangerous working conditions.
It is now so easy for us to order most anything we want online. Yet if we continue down this path, we will lose our local and small businesses and, thereby, some of our freedom. History tells us that monopolies tend to increase prices once they realize they can do so without penalty. Who would stop them?
Americans should buy local and from small businesses. We should vote with our dollars to help keep America free.
Dan Bailey, Wheaton
Online lenders are not hurting consumers
A recent article misstates several basic facts about loans, including those offered by installment lenders.
First, the article falsely implies that lenders can simply snatch money from borrowers’ bank accounts. This has never been true. ACH authorization allows lenders to automatically debit payments for borrowers, on a schedule that they’ve agreed to. This is a convenient way to ensure they don’t miss payments and accrue penalties.
The system is used by virtually all lenders, including banks, credit unions and alternative financial services providers. Debits can be cancelled at any time, and borrowers can make payments via a different method.
The article also assumes that borrowers have no money in their bank accounts other than their $1,200 economic stimulus checks. Many consumers are facing difficulties due to unforeseen medical expenses or decreased income, but not everyone is facing financial hardship.
Many consumers with non-prime credit scores rely on alternative financial services to make ends meet during this difficult time. The policies suggested by consumer advocates are misleading and would remove important options that provide a lifeline to these consumers.
Finally, many lenders are already taking actions to help borrowers by suspending late fees and offering flexibility like waived fees, interest freezes, payment plans and the ability to skip payments.
Gov. Pritzker should encourage lenders to work with borrowers impacted by the pandemic instead of issuing a blanket ban on ACH debits. Borrowers can then continue accessing the products they need.
Mary Jackson, CEO, Online Lenders Alliance