/ Letters / If not Evers, who?

If not Evers, who?

May 22, 2020

To the Editor:

After watching the breaking news that the State Supreme Court overruled the current COVID-19 guidelines, I felt the ned to try to bring some reality and facts on the issues. I am sure the editors of this newspaper are probably dancing in the street right now. Trumpists (not conscientious Republicans — there is a difference!) are also celebrating. Local businesses are so relieved. I certainly understand their pain on the gut level. It must be horrible for the people who suddenly had their lives totally upended two months ago. There have been hardships for everyone, but nobody has faced issues more than the small businesses. Health and economic strategies need to be pursued.

Who, with sufficient authority and resources, is going to offer any guidance on the virus mitigation after the ruling? The answer is no one. This is beyond the scope of a local issue. The President has made it clear he wants nothing to do with this at a federal level not accept any responsibility for trying to tackle this unbelievable difficult task. Not only did he waste over two months in preparation for the pandemic, but also has done everything he could ot divide us. Rural vs. urban. State vs. state, business vs. science, white vs. colored. Every day I get the impression we are 50 countries not the United States of America etc. — so it is up to each state, ergo Evers.

Our state republican representatives do not want anything to do with this either but to oppose Evers and weaken him. They have no plans, no innovative ideas. This is the same for the Supreme Court. Larger corporations who can withstand the economic pain seem only to be interested in getting financial assistance (help not sufficient or easily available for most of our local small businesses) or find ways to innovate their business to increase their bottom line from this pandemic. No altruism or hopes for a widespread employment increase here.

In understand that the governor is not popular in our area. I do not necessarily agree with everything he has tried to do, but here is the reality right now — he is all we got! Bashing Evers will not get rid of the virus. There will always be chances to vote him out later.

So, what about Oneida/Vilas County — fortunately we have been spared much of the COVID health problems. This is primarily because people have been cooperating with mitigation measures. Being a rural county with little employment in dense/crowded workplaces also helps our situation. But here is the deal:

1. The virus will be here and active until a vaccine or help from a proven therapeutic treatment is found.

2. The virus is very contagious.

3. People can be infected and not be systematic, increasing the danger of contagion.

4. There is no large-scale testing or contact tracing in this area. This creates further unknowns as we do not know the seriousness or who to avoid. You cannot get tested without already feeling sick. 

5. Our loca counties have a significant retirement population, many coping with chronic issues e.i. diabetes, heart, etc. This demographic is the most at risk when the illness takes a bad turn. On March 11 there were 38 deaths nationwide, today it is over 86,000 and growing.

6. The local health system, while adequate in normal times, would easily be overwhelmed with a series outbreak.

7. The Northwoods has a large tourist industry and it the part-time home to many people from other areas during the summer months. This large influx of outside individuals increases the possible of the virus coming into the area making contagion easier. This is America, people can legally move from one area to another. Spread is inevitable. Without some mitigation strategy, this could overwhelm the area.

There needs to be strategies to deal with both the economic and health impact of the pandemic. However, I do not feel it is an either-or choice. We are not the Wild West. If this continues, it will make all our misery worse. I give Governor Evers some credit for trying. Again, no on other political entity with enough scope of responsibility is taking over. There are no federal efforts other than soundbites trying to enhance reelection chances.

Without mitigation and rational safety measures, the pandemic can only grow, possibly reaching numbers and fatalities greater than we have already witnessed. How can any economy recover from that? There are a lot of great local restaurants and activities in this area I miss. I am not naive to think some may never recover. However, the fact is without mitigation efforts, testing and medical research and strategies, whatever chance of recovery will be doomed.

I speak for myself and others my age that until there is control over the pandemic, we will not be frequenting these businesses until perceived safe. Whether it is two months, six months, or a year. So, any short-term gains would not be sufficient or enough to overcome greater problems later. We need to stand together, be smart and help support efforts to mitigate the situation taking a longer view.

Rodney Munger

Lake Tomahawk



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