Thanks from Helen Bacon
I would like to thank all of you who encouraged and supported me as your county board supervisor. It has been a real honor to serve you. I have learned more than I gave, made friendships I wouldn’t have made otherwise and had my mind opened to so many new things. Thanks again, stay safe and see you all soon!
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Will Welcome You, Later
I am responding to numerous letters (and personal, non-newspaper conversations) regarding travel to Door County. Yes, officials in Door County made the plea to stay away from Door County before the state did, but the current Safer at Home order is from the state of Wisconsin – both the governor and the health department.
It’s the same as in Illinois and many other states: “Stay at home; restrict unnecessary travel; don’t travel to second homes” is what we’re hearing from many state, county and local governments. What part of that do those who are complaining about Door County’s communication not understand?
As a recent “transplant” from another state, I understand the desire to want to escape to Door County, but with limited medical and emergency resources, grocery stores and the large number of “older” residents, we must all be in this together to protect all of us.
Of course we welcome everyone when the crisis is over, and we all hope that happens sooner rather than later.
Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
Supply and Demand
The purpose of the census every 10 years is to count residents and create services based on those numbers. Each of our communities has created services to support that specific population: Streets and neighborhoods are designed and built; utilities are installed; and schools, hospitals, emergency services, police support, libraries, post offices and community centers are all allocated based upon the needs of the full-time resident population.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is known for developing Systems Dynamics/Thinking. One aspect of this model is based on supply and demand. Think about a five-gallon container of water. If you turn the nozzle, fully open or at a slow trickle, the same amount of water will come out at either speed – no more. There is a limited, defined supply.
Now think of demand. How many people can survive for a day on those five gallons of water: 10? 100? 1,000?
My example may sound absurd, but when a system (i.e., a community) has a limited supply of something, no matter how much we love or wish or hope or even swear, the supply has an end point.
Door County has one hospital. It has modified its space for 12 ICU beds. The supply is determined. Think again of the demand: 10? 100? 1,000?
How will we, as residents and potential visitors, decide to use our limited supply of emergency services? For many of us, this is the most difficult lifetime dilemma we will ever confront. How we choose our actions will forever be with each of us.
From a very personal perspective, my beloved husband would not survive contracting the coronavirus. We are self-quarantining, and our business will stay closed until a vaccine is available. This is our reality. We do not want to die, and we do not want to see any of you die – our treasured family members, friends, neighbors and guests.
Please stay home. Be well and safe. We want to share stories of family, dreams and life with you, but when we are all safe from the coronavirus.
Fish Creek, Wisconsin
A Targeting Strategy for Our COVID-19 Response
The unequal demographic and racial impacts of COVID-19 have been widely discussed in the media. African Americans, Native Americans and Latinos have suffered a disproportionate burden of the health impact.
In Louisiana, blacks make up 33 percent of the population but have suffered 70 percent of COVID-19 deaths. In Chicago, they make up 30 percent of the population but 69 percent of the fatalities. In Milwaukee, African Americans account for 38 percent of the population but have suffered 75 percent of the deaths, and their deaths make up 44 percent of Wisconsin’s total deaths. Preventing COVID-19 deaths in Wisconsin requires prioritizing African Americans in Milwaukee.
We know the reality that these numbers portray: They are tell-tale signs of segregation and racism that leave minority populations at a distinct disadvantage that compromises their access to health care, their rates of health-care utilization and the quality of care they receive – which together account for much of these individuals’ health status.
Blacks are 60 percent more likely to have diabetes than whites. Black women are 60 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than white women. Heart-disease mortality rates among African Americans are 25 percent greater than those of whites. Their life expectancy is 3.4 years less than whites.
Some of the more immediate causes of these differentials are attributable to differences in income, housing and lifestyles as well, but those considerations also reflect racism and unequal opportunity.
There is an emerging consensus that front-line workers, those without homes and nursing-home residents must be prioritized for testing, treatment and tracing. Given the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 falling on people of color, these communities, too, must be prioritized.
That people of color also disproportionately make up our essential workers – who are assuming greater risk by continuing to work to keep our society functioning – underscores the soundness of such an approach from a public-health perspective. It’s also a question of fundamental fairness. Let’s get this right, Wisconsin. Let’s get this right, America.
Sister Bay, Wisconsin
Words Have Consequences
In these unique and uncertain times, I look outside myself for some guidance and reassurance that we are going to get through this pandemic. We are Americans, and we will always eventually “get through it.” That’s what I want to believe.
However, I begin to doubt myself when I hear words from our president: words such as “Decisions will be based on science and my intuition,” or “Hydroxychloroquine is safe, and if we try it and it doesn’t work, at least we didn’t kill anyone.” People heard these words and proceeded to ask for hydroxychloroquine prescriptions and then self-medicate. Some people died after hearing those words from someone who has no medical background and whose words did not reflect scientific research experience that involved data collection, analysis and then conclusions based on peer review.
Before we follow our president, we should ask ourselves: How reliable is the source? Does the source have legitimate credentials to support his or her words and assertions and intuition? When the president speaks, people listen, but they shouldn’t stop there. They need to ask themselves: How should I respond to those words? What are the consequences of acting on the president’s words? Some folks believe the president has their personal life and interests in mind, but I wonder, does he really when he then says he will base decisions on his personal intuition?
No one – not even our president – should even think of applying his intuition to a national medical emergency. Do we for a moment think Abraham Lincoln used his intuition when deciding to suspend habeas corpus on July 4, 1861, thus asking Congress to consent to an “unprecedented national emergency”? Do we for a moment think Franklin Roosevelt used his intuition when declaring a “national emergency” in response to Nazi threats on May 27, 1941?
Before we blindly react to a president’s words during any national emergency, we should seriously ask ourselves what the consequences are of our actions and what the consequences are of the words spoken by our elected leaders.
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Bankers Are Playing a Crucial Role
Our country is facing a health crisis like no other, and we deeply appreciate all those who are heroically working on the front lines to fight the war against COVID-19. Every day we hear stories about the doctors, nurses, first responders, grocery clerks, delivery people and many others who put themselves at great risk to protect and save lives to ensure the health and safety of our country.
Simultaneously, there is another crisis facing our country: an economic one. Although stay-at-home orders are central to slowing the spread of this virus, they are also slowing a number of our economy’s important sectors and bringing many to a complete halt. So many people and businesses are struggling to stay afloat.
It requires tremendous effort and the dedication of our community banks in a race against time to protect the financial health and well-being of our local communities. I have witnessed firsthand the tremendous efforts being made to quickly develop and support the necessary infrastructure to facilitate access to a banking lifeline.
People on the front lines in our community banks are working tirelessly to help fellow citizens weather this financial crisis. Loan officers are working day and night to help people refinance their homes and prepare applications for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Call centers are working around the clock to provide guidance and support. IT staff are on 24/7 to keep our country’s vital financial systems up and running, and drive-through tellers are putting themselves at personal risk to help people make needed transactions. This is all accomplished because of the tireless support of back-office staff and remote workers.
Our community banks and the people who work for them are the oxygen and lifeblood of our economic system. Without these incredible people across our nation, the financial infrastructure of our country would be in complete disarray. I count these people among the heroes fighting this war, and I am deeply grateful for their service.
James McKenna, Chair and CEO, North Shore Bank
Questioning the Shutdown
Governor Evers doesn’t seem to understand that more people are apt to die of depression, anxiety and – God forbid – suicide if he allows the shutdown to continue further, except in “hot areas” where it might be justified. Also, crime will increase, and human suffering will show its ugly head.
I sure hope there’s a big turnout for the protest scheduled in Madison on April 24.
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Inexcusable and Unconscionable
“LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” “LIBERATE VIRGINIA!”: Tweets from April 17, 2020.
In yet another inexcusable and unconscionable display of malicious intent, our president contradicts his own Coronavirus Task Force in an effort to gin up his base in states with Democratic governors.
Just one day (!) after the White House Task Force issued careful, science-based guidelines, he is fomenting rebellion against governors who, unlike him, care about the safety of their citizens. Clearly, those who are crying for “liberty” from restrictions – including the president – are, in effect, admitting their disregard for public safety.
Would all of us like to be “liberated”? Of course! But would we call for stay-at-home orders to be lifted before it’s safe to do so, knowing that it would put our fellow citizens in danger of being infected? It appears that some would. And shame on this president for crassly exploiting them.
Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
A Dream for This Time
We will emerge
from our cocoons
when we have
Egg Harbor, Wisconsin
A Leader Steps Up in a Crisis
melaniejane deserves applause for standing up as the owner of the Holiday Music Motel and addressing other local lodging partners with a strong dose of common sense in the midst of a highly infectious, untreatable and often fatal viral epidemic. It is a courageous act of leadership for someone in the hospitality business to say that the health and safety of our local population is more important than earning tourism dollars at this particular time.
Other recent letters to the editor of the Pulse have outlined the opposing views between visitors who feel they are not being treated fairly by being discouraged from coming to Door County, and residents who feel outsiders should not be welcomed as potential importers of an infectious disease at this time.
This is not a debatable issue! Instead, it is simply a matter of common sense for the sake of our health and survival to roll up the welcome mat for awhile in order to protect those who live here.
Thanks again to melaniejane – who depends on tourism like so many other businesses in Door County – for saying what has to be said during this unprecedented time in order to put human value ahead of monetary value.
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin