Officials’ Missteps on Covid, Then and Now 1

Readers chastise health officials for not speaking out earlier, urge a slower reopening for New York City and propose a national day of mourning.

To the Editor:

It is disheartening to read of Dr. Deborah Birx and several of her medical colleagues only now publicly condemning the Trump administration’s negligent handling of the Covid-19 crisis (Live briefing, nytimes.com, March 29).

In a democracy, one of the loudest and most honorable means of drawing attention to a disagreement with one’s superiors is public resignation on account of principle. Dr. Birx, Donald Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator; Robert Redfield, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Stephen Hahn, former F.D.A. commissioner; and Adm. Brett Giroir, former assistant secretary for health, owed it to the American people to draw public attention — loud and clear — to the incompetence of President Trump and his health secretary, Alex Azar.

For these former officials only now to protest their disagreements is too little, too late. Had they acted in a timely manner, lives might have been saved.

Mark Bernkopf
Arlington, Va.

To the Editor:

Re “Experts Disagree on Pace of Reopening New York City” (news article, March 22):

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s further relaxing of restrictions in New York City seems to be based on a hope and a prayer. Hope that cases will continue to drop, and a prayer that the more contagious variants will be held at bay. One has to ask, what is the hurry?

Right now your Covid map places New York City in the extremely high risk category, with cases per 100,000 people more than 10 times higher than the low point last summer. We need to at least drive Covid cases down to the level of last summer before any further relaxing occurs.

A brief lockdown now to drive cases down while vaccinations move forward makes a great deal of sense. With the recently approved Covid relief funds giving a great deal of help to businesses, the push to expand reopening now is an error. Why not wait a few more months until more people who interact with the public are vaccinated and we have a better understanding of the variants that are out there?

We made the mistake of ignoring what was happening in Europe at the beginning of the pandemic. Let’s not make the same mistake now.

Martin Hoffman
New York

To the Editor:

Re “Prepare Yourself for Grief” (At Home, March 14):

Grief captured us as a country when the number of victims of Covid-19 began rising a year ago this month. Our national grief runs deep.

As Americans, we are experiencing collective grief for more than half a million deaths of grandparents, mothers, fathers, children, siblings and life partners. We grieved for them as President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris memorialized them with lights at the Reflecting Pool.

Those who lost their lives to the virus and died alone without family were cared for by frontline workers, our national heroes.

We need to acknowledge our collective grief and celebrate those who were with them as they died. To set aside a national day of mourning to remember our lost loved ones, and to honor our frontline workers, will memorialize those who died and celebrate the courage of the heroes who cared for them.

Dorothy P. Holinger
Brookline, Mass.
The writer, a staff psychologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, is the author of “The Anatomy of Grief.”