LETTERS: Waxing poetic about pandemic; Forgotten essentials; Alzheimer’s help thanked; Pandemic of religion;

Waxing poetic about pandemic

I just wanted to share with you a poem that I wrote about COVID-19.

COVID, I wish I didn’t know it It seems like just yesterday you were a distant budding teen Ohhh, my, my, how you’ve flourished and overtaken our lives in such a global meteoric hurry Forthwith, everybody knows you now Because you have us hidden, isolated, stricken, sickened or inhumed For now, we are told We must take shelter and distance ourselves from others in a safe place As we all await and see What is going to come next or be For those that waited or whereas somehow caught unaware Everywhere, many store shelves greet them bare

Water, paper and many products are not as plentiful right now out there Businesses, schools and others have shuttered As we tune in daily to hear and see what else is muttered You came from far away Only to put our lives in immeasurable disarray Unjustly creating grief, hardships, separations and dismay So I ask my God every single night and day, as I make time to pray “God is this thing here to stay???”

“Lord Almighty, will my family, those that I know, and this whole world be OK???”

I wish I didn’t know it

Guadalupe B. Rodriguez


Forgotten essentials

“On March 11 the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a pandemic. On Monday, March 13, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a statewide emergency amid new cases of coronavirus in the state. On the night of March 27 a “shelter at home” order went into effect for Hidalgo County.

A couple of months ago, COVID-19 seemed like a distant, sci-fi-esque virus that would never reach the Rio Grande Valley. Today, it is here at our doors.

Given the fragile nature of our healthcare infrastructure in the United States, many of these recent developments are largely justified.

In the Rio Grande Valley in particular, a significant proportion of the population seeks health care across the border in Mexico for reasons including language barriers between healthcare professionals and patients, a lack of comprehensive healthcare coverage, and a need for rapidly available specialized care. Furthermore, despite holding a population of more than 1.3 million, the Rio Grande Valley currently has 72 intensive-care unit beds and 143 ventilators at its disposal to confront a virus that threatens to infect thousands. All factors considered, there is no question that the proactive measures currently in place will prove beneficial to our communities.

Still, despite recent contributions by multiple organizations working to educate the community on how to prevent spreading COVID-19 and efforts to ensure an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for our healthcare professionals, there is one group that remains largely overlooked and undervalued: the custodial staff tasked with sanitizing spaces for the rest of us.

Classified as “essential” under the recent “shelter at home” order, these individuals disinfect surfaces and spaces in order to protect the rest of the team at the frontlines. In doing so, they themselves are at risk of contracting COVID-19, a virus that reportedly can survive multiple days on surfaces.

As we move forward through this pandemic, these individuals must not be forgotten. We must ensure that they receive comprehensive training for preventing occupational exposure to COVID-19, provide them with adequate personal protective equipment, advise them on how to prevent exposing others in their households, as well as advocate for their access to supplemental sick leave.

Perhaps more importantly, we must provide knowledge of these resources to them in their native language.

While we have been quick to recognize the importance of protecting our healthcare workers, we must not forget those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our healthcare teams and the rest of us safe.”

Kevin Ernesto Salinas


Alzheimer’s help thanked

There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, including 400,000 here in Texas. Recently, Congress passed the Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, including key elements of the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act of 2019 (House Resolution 1903/Senate Bill 901), critical legislation that will improve the health outcomes of people living with dementia.

As a certified occupational therapy assistant, I have personally provided therapy services with the goal of helping those affected maintain their activities of daily living skills. I have seen firsthand the confusion and frustration on the faces of many clients, and their caregivers/loved ones, as they struggle to perform activities that we take for granted.

I want to thank U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez for supporting the House passage of the Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act of 2019, through the Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. This critical vote will allow individuals living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease to access supports and services from programs under the Older Americans Act. Those programs include nutritional services, supportive services, the National Family Caregiver Support program and other services that enhance quality of life.

Please join me in thanking Rep. Gonzalez for supporting this legislation. If you would like to be part of our next big legislative win, visit alzimpact.org/volunteer to join the fight.

Layman Darnell Miller, Alzheimer’s Association Ambassador for TX-15


Pandemic of religion

In the very early 19th century Ambrose Bierce wrote a book titled “The Cynic’s Word Book.” In his book he defined faith as: “Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.”

Faith has been the biggest plague ever inflicted upon mankind. And, no one wants to take responsibility for the evil acts of the faithful.

President John Adams said, “As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed? How has it happened that all the fine arts, architecture, painting, sculpture, statuary, music, poetry, and oratory, have been prostituted, from the creation of the world to the sordid and detestable purposes of superstition and fraud?”

Adams was totally correct when he made this statement in his December 1816 letter to F.A. Vanderkemp. Then, as now, it was the Christian faith in action.

Hypatia was a teacher and respected throughout the Roman world. She was slaughtered by Christians because she would not convert. In the Middle ages, she was reinvented as the perfect woman and she became Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

People of your faith are responsible for the Crusades, Inquisition, Black Death and the Holocaust. When the Christians were in charge of Europe it was called the Dark Ages.

It is very common for people to hate people for not being Christian. Just ask a Jew.

Hank Shiver


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