Today's necessary travels took me through three small towns in northeast Kansas. In one town, I saw a patron at a grocery store wearing a suitable face mask but the other 15 or so patrons wore no protection at all and crowded in, shoulder to shoulder, as though the COVID-19 scourge simply did not exist.

Another stop at a similar store revealed the same conditions, only this time I was the only patron wearing a mask. The third stop mirrored the first two and no employees at any of them wore protective gear. None of the three stores provided barriers between store check-out clerks, other staff and patrons.

I can only speak for the areas I visited but, if the same is true throughout the state, Kansas can only be awarded a solid "F" for performance in battling the greatest threat to life and our economy since World War II.

I have no magic fix for this pandemic, but I am certain that the path many of us have taken will cost us much more dearly than we could image in our worst nightmare.

Dick Walker, Valley Falls