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Understand the virus’s nature

Viruses are not alive. They have no brain, no plans, no intentions. They are simply a genome (RNA or DNA) enclosed in a protein coat. They are known in science as “obligate parasites” because they cannot exist outside a living cell. If they cannot enter a cell, they dry up and lose their infectivity.

The COVID-19 virus has an RNA genome wrapped in a protein coat that will bind to a human pulmonary cell. Once inside the cell, the virus genome breaks out of its protein coat and uses the cellular machinery to reproduce itself millions of times. These million copies then exit the cell, destroying the cellular structure as they leave. But once outside the cell, the virus must enter another living cell within a matter of a few hours or it will no longer be infective.

If there is no other human nearby that it can infect, the virus will disappear. That is why social distancing is so important . It is the only control we have right now to bring this pandemic to an end.

How silly and ignorant it is for people to protest and ignore the very rules that are intended to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our society.

Maureen McGrath, Omaha

M.S., medical microbiology

Travel restrictions needed

If we’re going to have relaxed restrictions in some counties but not others, those with stricter restrictions should have travel restrictions as well. People who are infected but asymptomatic will travel from a restricted county to a less-restricted one to get a haircut or go to a restaurant, for example, unintentionally infecting others who could die from COVID-19.

Andrew White, Kearney, Neb.

Judge’s impressive legacy

At the end of this month Judge Christopher Kelly will retire from the Juvenile Court in Omaha. Over 40 years ago he began his career as a Douglas County prosecutor, and I was in Sarpy County. Both our bosses (his, Pinky Knowles and mine, Pat Kelly) allowed us to learn in similar environments which fostered incredible friendships and enormous professional growth. During those early years of our professional lives we became friends.

Judge Kelly practiced in front of Judge Moylan, who along with Judge Nurenberger in the Lancaster County Separate Juvenile Court, set the standard for how all of us should conduct ourselves on and off the bench. I was fortunate enough to know both men, who went out of their way to treat me as a young lawyer and then judge with gracious guidance and support.

Judge Kelly carried their torch with similar civility, modesty, intellect and work ethic. He leaves the bench with a lasting legacy that always shunned the spotlight. His contributions were many and I know his mentor, Judge Moylan, would be proud. I will miss him as a colleague and know Douglas County will as well.

Lawrence D. Gendler, Papillion

judge, Sarpy County Separate Juvenile Court

Unfair attacks on Palmtag

I am a retired FBI agent who investigated large-scale Colombian and Mexican cocaine trafficking organizations for most of my career in Houston, Texas. I also spent several years investigating human trafficking of juveniles for prostitution in Billings, Montana. I have two daughters who graduated from Creighton Law School, one of whom is an assistant district attorney in Douglas County. My wife and I moved to Nebraska to be near our children and grandchildren.

I point this out is to show that I am very uncompromising when it comes to being tough on crime. I have talked at length with Janet Palmtag, candidate for the District 1 seat for the Nebraska Legislature, about problems related to crime and the problems facing the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. I am very impressed with her knowledge on these issues.

I can assure you that recent allegations made by State Sen. Slama that Janet Palmtag is soft on crime could not be further from the truth. You would have to look long and hard to find someone more conservative than me, and I think Janet has the right ideas and values we need to reduce the drug and other criminal problems as well as problems with the Department of Correctional Services.

I’ll never apologize for telling the truth and I cannot stand by and let someone I know and respect be subjected to such underhanded political tactics. Nebraska deserves better, more mature leadership than this.

David Lemoine, Syracuse, Neb.

China/U.S. business comparison

Over the last several weeks I heard several times on TV and on the radio politicians, pundits and so-called “experts” say that U.S. manufacturing was moved to China in the ’90s and 2000s because of the lower labor costs. While labor costs are a significant factor in manufacturing costs, they were seldom the critical cost driver back then, nor even now.

Then main attraction for moving manufacturing to China was the relatively low cost and ease of building modern facilities in China. In China, a company could build and open a factory in a year or two. The building of facilities in the U.S. could take many years as various parts of the governments imposed their views and ever-changing regulations and orders on the companies.

Just take a look at the problems the Keystone pipeline company has had in the U.S. Here in Nebraska, a chicken processing company has had a terrible time trying to open a plant in Fremont. Amazon ended up canceling their planned major facility that would have moved thousands of high-paying jobs to New York City because of the opposition.

A basic reason for moving to Chine was that China was open to business and the USA is too often hostile to manufacturing. In China companies were not only allowed to open a busing, they were also allowed to run a business with far fewer cost-raising regulations, obstructing government agencies, and expensive taxes as compared to the U.S.

Jay S. Purdy, Omaha

Masks are imperative now

To protect their employees, some businesses are requiring all customers to wear masks. Why aren’t all businesses taking this same care? Employees should also wear masks for the public’s protection. We all need to be doing our part.

Jan Faulkner, Omaha

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