Letter to the Editor: Slowing COVID-19 Means Taking Personal Responsibility

As we see COVID-19 cases rise dramatically in our area, along with the ever-increasing politicization of the pandemic, there seems to be a mountain of conflicting information regarding the virus. As such, it may seem impossible to tell fact from fiction.

One thing upon which we should all be able to agree is that the most important factor in decreasing the spread of the virus is the individual choices that we make.

Recently, the governor extended the statewide mask mandate. His ability to do so is legally questionable and is being challenged by an independent law firm. I don’t agree with the decision made by legislative leadership to support the suit, but no matter the outcome, it is vital that we recognize that it falls on each of us as individuals to follow the CDC’s guidelines.

The surge in COVID-19 cases occurred after the initial mask mandate was issued. This didn’t happen because masks are ineffective, but rather, because many are ignoring the mandate and making poor choices regarding private gatherings. By now it should be crystal clear that this is a threat to every one of us – especially to our most vulnerable.

Aside from the risk the virus poses to our health, the impact has been devastating to many of our local businesses and the education of our children. If we want our schools and businesses to stay open, we must slow the spread of the virus.

I am pleading with you to take responsibility for your own actions. We must decide for ourselves the amount of risk we are willing to accept. If you find yourself in a business or group setting where people are not taking the proper safety precautions, you should leave.

But, most importantly, please follow the CDC’s guidelines for limiting COVID-19 infections, which include wearing a facial covering in public, washing your hands regularly and practicing social distancing.

It’s not a sign of weakness to wear a mask, nor should it be viewed as a political statement. It shows that you care about the health of your family, friends and neighbors.

We won’t have this virus completely under control until a vaccine is available, and no government program can change that. But if we each do our part and make this small sacrifice now, we can slow the spread and better protect the people in our communities.

Rep. Joel Kitchens

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin