Lollapalooza a sure superspreader

I was forced to shut down my business. But now the city is allowing this festival, even as COVID-19 is on the rise.

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Fans enjoy a day at Lollapalooza 2019 in Grant Park.

antiago Covarrubias/For the Sun-Times

I am founder and former owner of The iO Theater, one of Chicago’s greatest treasures for 40 years. I lost my business because I was mandated closed during the pandemic. But I understood that the mayor and governor were trying to protect our city and I considered it my civic duty to be closed.

Now I see that they are allowing this huge festival, Lollapalooza, which will absolutely be a superspreader of the coronavirus. I’m angry that I was forced to shut down while they allow the festival, even as COVID-19 is again on the rise. Clearly, the mayor cared nothing for the businesses we owners lost, but it’s important to do the festival because the city will make money. I realize now that I lost my business for nothing.

Charna Halpern, Lake View

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Americans in abysmal shape

As I read news stories about a decline in American life expectancy, my blood pressure rose. Blame was heaped on COVID-19, of course, and our beleaguered health care system. But I saw no mention of a huge contributing factor, the abysmal physical condition of the average American.

Sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since 1950, according to the American Heart Association. Modern labor-saving devices, processed foods and sedentary pastimes have compounded the problem. A demographic decrease in life expectancy has been looming for years, a grim omen apparent to anyone who looked. 

News that life expectancy in the United States is on the decline should be a wake-up call that prompts better lifestyle choices. Or it can be ignored while we await possible improvements in health care and life-extending advances in medical research, which might provide limited quality of life benefits. Which road will we pick? 

Tom Gregg, Niles

Police merit promotion lacks merit

As a retired Chicago cop and lieutenant, I am appalled that Supt. David Brown is bringing back so-called merit promotion. Merit promotion is cronyism. It ditches test-taking and makes promotions political — a matter of who you know. It’s bad for morale and bad for fairness. But if you use the word “diversity,” I guess anything passes. I write this as an African American who cares about diversity, but not like this. 

Shawn Jenkins, Hammond

Make vaccine mandatory

I consider myself to be a member of my community and society at large. I don’t live my life just for myself; I very much care about my fellow human beings. I wear a seat belt and a motorcycle helmet not because anyone told me too, but because I know that doing so saves lives. If other people choose not to wear seat belts or helmets, putting only themselves at risk, more power to them. But when we’re talking about whether to get vaccinated against COVID-19, we’re talking about putting other lives at risk.

Science and almost all experts say that everybody, save for a small number of people with certain medical conditions, should be vaccinated against the coronavirus and its variants. The virus is no joke and no hoax. It is not some type of basic flu bug. And the only way to stop it from mutating and continuing to be a killing machine is to get everybody vaccinated.

We know who’s choosing not to get vaccinated: the uneducated, the misinformed, the foolish and the conspiracy theorists. They brag about being citizens. But how can you pledge allegiance to the flag, and to the Republic for which it stands, when you act only for yourself and not the Republic — not for the greater good?

It’s time for the federal government to do what they have been hired to do and mandate vaccinations.

Bruce Handler, Highland Park

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