Letters: Skepticism required in COVID-19 response

The Detroit News

The so-called COVID relief bill is a scam perpetuated upon the American people. Only about $500 billion is actual COVID relief, while about $400 billion is loaded with pork or special interests.

Look it up for yourself. It includes $1.3 billion for Egypt, part of which is new military equipment, mostly to be purchased from Russia, and $15 million to refurbish a patrol boat in Sri Lanka.

President Donald Trump didn't offer Americans $2,000 out of the goodness of his heart, a reader writes.

How any of our senators or representatives could vote for this bill is beyond belief. My wife and I do not need any stimulus checks.

Our children and grandchildren do not need this massive spending piled onto our national debt.

Lynn Hukee, Grand Blanc

Trump, GOP relief bill demands all show

While no one was really opposed to getting $2,000, we must look at the reasons behind the offer. President Donald Trump didn't do this out of the goodness of his heart. This was just a last-ditch effort by him to try to look like he's helping people.

The stimulus bill could've been passed six months ago or three months ago. The only reason it got any attention now is time is running out and the GOP didn't want to be blamed for dropping unemployment or rent protection.

This was only a final grandstanding effort that really was too little and too late. 

Allan Bieniek, Southgate

'Immunity passports' threaten privacy

In order to counteract the coronavirus pandemic, many institutions have put in place test and trace surveillance capabilities to track those who are diagnosed with COVID-19 and alert and isolate others they may have come in contact with. Now, corporations and government institutions are considering enacting "immunity passports."

Unfortunately, though these policies have a noble intent, we have reason to believe they will be abused by state and non-state actors in order to surveil the populace.

This is especially pertinent because these capabilities have been and will be implemented without the consent of the governed, giving institutions tremendous nondemocratic powers to implement and abuse them with little blowback.

In their ideal world, we would passively accept these programs, and no safeguards would be put in place to protect our civil liberties. These same institutions can and will use the pandemic as a pretext to push these programs through quickly with no oversight.

Of course, test and trace and immunity passports are powerful tools in ensuring that less people contract and die from COVID-19. But at what cost? If we do nothing, it could be a high cost to our privacy, but if we are skeptical at every turn, we could live in the best of both worlds: one that is COVID free and one which also guarantees the rights of all citizens to assemble with no threat to their civil liberties. 

Together, let's push for the latter.

Dan Smith, graduate student

Wayne State University