On September 17, the Chippewa County Health & Human Services Board has the following agenda item: “ORDINANCE TO CREATE ARTICLE IV. OF CHAPTER 34 OF THE CHIPPEWA COUNTY CODE OF ORDINANCES REGARDING COMMUNICABLE DISEASES AND THE AUTHORITY & DUTIES OF THE CHIPPEWA COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER”. In essence, with COVID-19 as the backdrop, they hope to codify the majority of WI Section 252.03, into the county ordinances.

This ordinance grants the “county health officer” vast powers. For example, section (c)(3) states that the health officer, “shall promptly take all measures necessary to prevent, suppress and control communicable diseases”. Is that what we the people want? Yes, this is a copy/paste from state statues, but do we want a health officer that has the authority to, “take all measures” that he/she arbitrarily deems necessary? Added to these vast powers are punitive aspects, which allow for a fine of up to $500/day, for any “violation”. So if the county health officer declares that we all must wear rubber gloves and goggles, to help suppress the seasonal flu, (which of course is a communicable disease), or face a $500/day fine, are we good with that? If you think that will never happen, then what about a face covering mandate for people who have a better chance of being struck by lightning, than dying of the disease the face covering is intended to combat?

Leaving the ineffectiveness of most face coverings aside, that is exactly what is happening now in schools across the state, where young people are forced to wear masks. In addition to the extremely low infection fatality rate, which yes, corresponds to a lower probability than being struck by lightning, data from numerous European countries shows that the young have a low susceptibility to COVID-19, and also, if infected, carry a low risk of transmitting it. In fact, the World Health Organization has claimed that transmission from asymptomatic people in general, is RARE. So much for the ubiquitous guilt trip line that claims that masks are not for the one who wears them, but others – if you are not symptomatic, you are not likely to spread it.

Sometimes, when we look back at past events, things from generations ago, we wonder how the people of that time could have possibly believed what they believed, or did what they did. Well, we are living in those times now, and future generations will look back and wonder how we could have believed what we believe now, and done what we are doing now, all in the name of COVID-19. We need to get past the unfounded fear and hype, and rationally treat this disease in a manner that is proportionate to its true risks.

Andy Shakal

Bloomer, Wis