Seven columns in this newspaper between April 13 and May 11 might have their best use lining the kitty litter box. Reading those columns for the advice of Michael Reagan and Scott Frostman, who disparaged Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” initiative, could result in illness and death. The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s 4-3 decision nullifying “Safer at Home” does not change that fact. That decision was so outlandish that it brought national shame to Wisconsin. One of the most conservative justices, Brian Hagedorn, couldn’t stomach it and voted with the two liberals.
A Reagan column published May 11 stated, “. . .unless you are over age 75, living in a nursing home and already have serious medical problems like heart disease or diabetes, your chances of catching COVID-19 are low, your chances of getting seriously sick from it are even lower, and your chances of dying from it are miniscule.” Whether due to lying or ignorance, that statement is just flat wrong. Babies and children are dying from COVID-19, and young adults are among the most frequent vectors who spread it to grandma and grandpa.
Kaiser Health News contained an article by Victoria Knight published in mid-April, also published in U.S. News and World Report, that gives the lie to nearly every statement Reagan made. Kaiser actually knows something about health care. Gadfly Reagan doesn’t.
As news of overworked health care workers getting sick and dying from COVID-19 spread, Reagan decided to call those who carried assault rifles and Nazi signs to anti stay-at-home rallies, heroes. He is an avid supporter of the dictatorial and voter-suppressing President Donald Trump, yet he calls governors who develop policies to fight COVID-19, tyrants. Reagan lives in Los Angeles and his columns often delve into minor details of that city’s politics which are of little relevance to southcentral Wisconsin.
Local columnist Scott Frostman writes no better. “Our reactions and response [to COVID-19] should not have more dire consequences than those resulting from the virus itself,” he wrote, quoting Trump and Republican boilerplate, as he often does. In this case he is dead wrong. People get very sick and die from the virus. Some have lost their jobs from the response. The government is sending those who lost their jobs checks to ameliorate lost income. The government has not sent a cure to those who get sick. People who lose their jobs can go back to work when the virus passes. People who die cannot return to life. Frostman should think before he quotes.
“We all face risks and challenges every day. When we walk down the street, or get into our cars,” Frostman wrote. That is known as fatalism. It is the same argument that people used for not fastening their seat belts. It proved to be absurd as seatbelts saved lives, and it is just as absurd now when Frostman uses it to justify spreading COVID-19.
Frostman implied that cancer and other diseases are not getting treated because of the focus on COVID-19. Those of us who have cancer and other diseases that suppress the immune system have a much greater risk of dying from COVID-19 than those who do not have those afflictions. Frostman must have missed the news that fighting COVID-19 is critical to people who have cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and a host of other diseases.
Dave Wester is a resident of Baraboo. He may be contacted at email@example.com.
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