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COVID-19 outbreak should be no surprise

The politicians responsible for defending against pandemics chose to ignore the warnings and failed to prepare for them

Chicago Public School staff member Larry Magee prepares meals for students at Paul Laurence Dunbar Vocational High School in Chicago on Wednesday.
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Anyone complaining that Covid-19 struck without warning must be sleepwalking through life. It is merely the current threat among others to follow, as epidemiologists have long warned.

Trouble is, the politicians responsible for defending against them choose to ignore the warnings and failed to prepare for them. Prior administrations did so. The Trump administration deliberately or out of inexcusable bad judgment ignored them despite being apprised of such plans by the outgoing Obama administration specialists. Worse, it scoffed at the oncoming threat arising in China and squandered two precious months instead of manning battle stations immediately.

Worse still, Trump undercut sound scientific advice that could have blunted the disaster sooner.

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In 2015, Microsoft’s Bill Gates warned in a speech of the damage of coming pandemics. Nobody in power heeded. For years, Hollywood has dramatized pandemic disasters and their disastrous effects. Recently, China had to destroy millions of chickens to stop the spread of avian flu. Last January, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro warned Trump of potential epidemic devastation. Trump ignored it. In recent years, the planet has been hit by SARS, E-Coli, Zikavirus, West Nile virus, MERS and other infections, all well-publicized. More shall follow. Just never try to sound shocked when they break out.

We maintain standing armed forces in case of military attack. Until in our capitol we maintain all necessary in case of biological attack, we shall remain as vulnerable as we were when Covid-19 struck and suffer the consequences, keeping in mind that an enemy could mount a biological attack. But no one should try to say there was no warning. There have been plenty.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

Stooping low

The Republicans have done it again. Just when you think Republican officials and legislators couldn’t stoop any lower, they prove you wrong. For political gain, the Republican legislators of Wisconsin and their cronies on their Supreme Court, thought it perfectly acceptable to hold an election in the middle of a pandemic when everyone has been advised to stay home. The audacity of such a decision. People waiting in lines risked their lives so that Donald Trump’s super conservative choice could be elected. They wanted low turn-out.

Even more outrageous was the backup by the United States Supreme Court. The five Republican appointed justices disgraced themselves and their sworn oath to uphold the provision of the Constitution to “provide for the general welfare.” They are beneath contempt. Chief Justice John Roberts will hold a disgraceful legacy in history. Most likely, he will be compared to Roger Taney, whose decision in the Dred Scott case left him with a contemptible reputation when he declared a freed slave could not sue because he was not a citizen nor could he ever be because of the African Americans’ long history of servitude.

Roberts has done everything he could to endanger Americans’ voting rights by gutting the Voting Rights Act and refusing to address gerrymandering. Now he endangers citizens’ actual lives. Every newspaper in America should discredit this shameful act and those responsible for it. The Supreme Court of the United States can no longer be thought of as a beacon of justice as long as it is controlled by John Roberts and his four compatriots. They have dishonored themselves and the reputation of the court.

Betty Kleinberg, Deerfield

Some things never change

Tough time we live in these days but it’s good to know some things never change. Politicians who feel they are above the edicts they impose on others. Stay home, wash your hands, avoid contact. All well in good in these times.

Want to jog along the lakefront? Too bad, the mayor has closed everything down, and will send the police after you if you dare come by.

Need a haircut, maybe for a job interview because you’re now out of work? Too bad. Unless you’re Mayor Lightfoot. Social distancing be damned, she needs to look good on camera. Unlike the mayor, the rest of us will just have look shaggy for those virtual Easters that may be planned.

Apparently, as long as you wear a mask and gloves you’re good to go. Let’s open up the restaurants and bars and just tell workers and patrons alike what is needed. No mask, no gloves, no service. Seems to work for the mayor of Chicago.

Kevin O’Brien, Arlington Heights