Thanks to the mayor of Kauai, a new word, "covidiot," has been brought to our attention. It is a word we need because the covidiots are numerous — you see them wherever you go. They're the old man in the pharmacy in the MAGA hat loudly proclaiming that COVID-19 is a hoax. They're the people in the grocery store without masks.

Sadly, they apparently listen to the most visible covidiot, the one who calls himself a "stable genius," the covidiot-in-chief. His lack of action, back to mid-January, makes him complicit in many deaths our country has experienced and complicit in many more to come.

From the time he was elected by the Electoral College, he has convinced me it is important he must be a one-term president. The COVID-19 pandemic and his complete mishandling of it will, hopefully, assure he is a one-term president. Covidiots will certainly vote for him, if they live through the pandemic, but people who trust experts more than the covidiot-in-chief will certainly turn him out.

James M. Hemsley


Late-onset COPD also smoking hazard

Almost 41 years ago, I quit smoking. By age 36, I'd puffed at least 20 "pack years." Within four years I was jogging so much, with great wind, that I finished five marathons.

Last year, age 76, I started having difficulty breathing. Turns out I have a malady called late-onset COPD. I'd never heard of it. The most recent AARP Bulletin was the first time I'd ever seen it written about. It ain't fun. I'm on medication for it, but it doesn't solve the problem.

If you are a young smoker, quit! Your old self will thank you.

Kirk Bubul

Kimball, Tennessee


Step up, hospitals; give us the facts

I faithfully read the newspaper daily and follow other news to learn how our city and county are faring through this pandemic. I worry about Hamilton County's death rate compared to others in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. It is reported our death rate is 10%, the highest of all counties listed. If answers were given, it would probably be our lack of testing. If reasons for our lack of testing are ones given in the April 18, 2020, editorial, that's no excuse, it's a travesty!

Being a senior, and in a high-risk group, I also want to know how our hospitals are prepared. I have heard from the public health department and local epidemiologists, but what about hospitals?

Now, with businesses considering reopening, this is even more important. I implore our health care leaders — not politicians — to talk to us regularly and take a lead in decision-making.

Lynn Whisman


Gut feelings don't outweigh expertise

As we all know, we are living in strange times. The weather, the environment, the politics and on top of it all the pandemic. I am optimistic we will get through it all if we walk through this together.

However, I'm worried. In my life, I have recognized that I have some strong talents and other areas where I am not so strong. In fact, pretty poor. As we used to say and I now realize, situations that are "clearly beyond my pay grade."

I absolutely cannot understand the skeptics who are acting as if they know better than those who are expert. Expert by training, experience and recognition in their respective fields. Gut feelings do not outweigh expertise and experience. Disregarding the advice of the experts could be fatal to all of us. Skeptics, get on board so we can get to the finish line. Our collective lives depend on it.

Irv Ginsburg