Opinion | This Texan Wears a Mask

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To the Editor:

Re “Mask Mandate Ends in Texas, and Workers Ponder Illness Threat” (news article, March 11):

This Texan will continue to wear a mask and to distance from others, using only curbside pickup and package delivery. Unlike the Texas governor, we are not all selfish, ignorant and uncaring.

I do not know anyone here in Texas who plans to follow Gov. Greg Abbott’s insane order. And if I see someone without a mask, I go the other way.

The governor cannot force people into Covid-suicide, hard as he may try. Most of us sense a new public health emergency coming this way soon.

Karen Porter
San Marcos, Texas

The Joys of Hugging Again (if Vaccinated)

To the Editor:

Re “Those Vaccinated Can Be Maskless in Small Groups” (front page, March 9):

The new C.D.C. guidelines for vaccinated people are wonderful news, as my wife and I will now be able to see our families and friends, and even begin to travel again. I have not seen my first and only grandson since he was born in June last year, and I cannot wait to hold him in my arms again!

While we have been fully vaccinated, we still wear masks when we venture out. But the C.D.C. guidelines are a game changer, and family and friends are awaiting the joys of hugging and kissing once again.

During this time of social distancing I have had much time to think about the things I miss the most. On the top of that list are hugs — male hugs and female hugs, hugs with my family, my friends and co-workers, hugs for and from those suffering unspeakable losses caused by the coronavirus.

The vaccines are a miracle, and we need everyone possible to get the shots, because as we approach and reach herd immunity, the more normal our lives will be, and the more people we can safely hug.

Henry A. Lowenstein
Newport, R.I.

Josh Hawley Isn’t My Kind of Missourian

To the Editor:

Re “Voices From Hawley’s History Wonder, Why So Angry Now?” (front page, March 8):

Senator Josh Hawley, the Missouri Republican, does not represent the Missouri I know and love.

My family tree in the St. Louis area began in the early 1800s and spans seven generations of proud Missourians. A gangly community of family and friends that included branches of proud Republicans, Democrats, liberal and conservative thinkers who have not always agreed on the issues of the day but stood together on the importance of truth, justice and a commitment to building a better America rooted in these core tenets of our democracy.

I have seen none of this spirit in Mr. Hawley’s record as our state’s attorney general, nor as the junior senator from the great state of Missouri. I see a man eagerly hitching his wagon to the star that will carry him to the highest position of power he can achieve, regardless of truth, principle or the Constitution, and he seems to be comfortable embarking on this journey without any moral compass.

As your article lays bare, his role here was never about Missouri or Missourians.

Ann Sheehan Lipton
St. Louis

Early Marriage and the Pandemic

To the Editor:

Re “Child Marriages Soar in Pandemic, Curbing Global Dreams” (news article, March 9):

As you report, early marriage, which is most often child marriage, is dramatically on the rise in the developing world. Unicef estimates that up to 10 million more girls are at risk of becoming child brides because of the pandemic.

Early marriage perpetuates the vicious cycle of intergenerational poverty and inequality.

The resources and opportunities that frame people throughout their lives are largely determined by nationality and the economic status of one’s parents. Girls’ education is a game-changer, offering knowledge and skills that have the potential to substantially affect family income and health as well empower girls’ agency in their family and community.

We must not let decades of progress in girls’ education and gender equality become another victim of Covid.

Jackie Shapiro
Bedford, N.Y.
The writer is a past co-chair of the Working Group on Girls, a coalition of NGOs working at the United Nations.

Training More Doctors for Future Health Emergencies

To the Editor:

David Brooks is right to draw attention to the federal government’s misguided policy capping the number of medical residency positions at hospitals (“Want to Get Really Rich? Here’s How!,” column, Feb. 26).

Covid-19 has demonstrated that we need more doctors trained in multiple specialties to ensure that we are prepared for the next public health emergency. The policy limiting Medicare’s support for physician training undercuts that imperative.

Lifting the cap will ensure that more residency training positions are funded, more doctors are produced and we are prepared for future emergencies. Emergency preparedness requires work force planning, of which having enough doctors is paramount.

Kenneth E. Raske
New York
The writer is president of the Greater New York Hospital Association.

More Support for Amtrak

To the Editor:

Re “Wary Locals May Hinder Amtrak Bid to Expand” (news article, March 7):

One of the perceptions of those against Amtrak’s expansion is that trains are a “joy ride for the affluent.” If enough affluent riders are on a train and not in their cars, we all benefit environmentally.

Further, if Amtrak were supported in ways that it should be by the government, it would be more affordable for all Americans. Let’s fix the problems instead of beating up on one solution.

Susan J. Behrens

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