Our view: Coronavirus, health care and kind words

Herald pull quote, 3/11/2020

Three thoughts related to the coronavirus outbreak:

● A visit to an Altru Health System clinic last week shined a light on what, exactly, the workers there are doing on behalf of the residents of Greater Grand Forks. Think of it: Doctors, nurses, physicians’ assistants, receptionists and others are manning their posts, knowing full well that the next person who walks in the door could be a carrier of coronavirus or, more likely, something common but dreaded nonetheless, such as influenza.

Yet they’re there to help – not just Altru workers but everyone in the health care industry. And not just at hospitals and clinics, but at pharmacies, senior centers, schools and anywhere else health professionals are needed.

It must be more than a paycheck to them, and for that, we are grateful for their efforts during what must be a stressful time for them and their families.

Thank you.


● Stories are beginning to percolate that President Trump may have been in contact with people who have since gone into quarantine amid fears of coronavirus exposure. It’s hard to deny that the president was near them, as photos show him shaking hands Friday with Georgia Rep. Doug Collins. Also, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida flew on Air Force One at the same time as the president. Both Collins and Gaetz have since submitted to self-quarantine.

The president is showing no signs of the illness, according to multiple reports, and our hope is he remains well and able to lead during these turbulent times. We also hope others can understand the reverberations of their words if they wish an American president ill.

Anyone who doesn’t like the president should vote against him in November. In the meantime, he’s the United States’ leader and his presence during times of crisis is important not just to the nation, but to the world. Stay well, President Trump.

● Speaking of poor use of words, shame on anyone who questions the decision of Paul and Kari Kolstoe to go on a vacation. The Grand Forks couple were stranded on the cruise ship Grand Princess until Monday as numerous people on that ship tested positive for coronavirus.

Kari Kolstoe has cancer and needed to get off the ship to resume her treatments, which were scheduled to begin Monday. Her situation became national news, leading many to question on social media why she was on the ship in the first place.

Answer: A vacation – not just from work or the cold, but from the realities of the very treatments she is scheduled to undergo.

In a perfect world, the Kolstoes would have toured the warm waters around Hawaii on the Grand Princess, returned to port over the weekend and been back in Grand Forks for her cancer treatments early in the week. And also in a perfect world, she could enjoy some rest and recreation away from the chilly North Dakota winter without being subjected to criticism for doing so.

But the world’s not perfect, as the coronavirus is teaching us.

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