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Letter to the Editor: We Deserve COVID-19 Data Transparency

I believe there is tremendous opportunity within our local and state public-health departments to provide additional data transparency regarding the continued COVID-19 pandemic response. 

There is a question being skirted around regarding the increase in positive cases: How many of these positive cases are actually sick people? We rely on legislators and reporters to ask questions of our government agencies so that we, the people, can see what’s going on. Data already show this virus is much less deadly than originally thought, and an increase in cases is not leading to a subsequent increase in hospitalizations. 

We also have enough case data to understand that asymptomatic or otherwise healthy individuals are not primary transmitters of this virus. If you want to argue with me on that point, then come to my business on a Saturday afternoon and watch what happens. Then we can have a conversation about the last six months. 

Before we debate mandatory vaccinations or federal taxpayer testing, let’s first push for data transparency. It is commonplace to think policy decisions have been based on “science,” but if you read the most recent emergency orders and mandates, every policy decision in Wisconsin has been based on data. That is all we actually have in the end. 

I am advocating that our public-health departments on all levels separate positive case data by symptoms and no symptoms (and yes, I believe they have the data). Do you think increased data transparency will help or hurt your position and beliefs? Would you rather just not see the data and continue believing what you believe? 

Whatever your current position is, don’t expect to persuade people on the opposing side to take their mask off or spit on a stick every day without data transparency. 

Rachel Stollenwerk

Fish Creek, Wisconsin