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May 31, 2020

5/22/2020 1:27:00 PM
Living and Letting Die

Dear Editor:
Is it not interesting that Paula Dail, PhD, Emerita Research Professor of Social Welfare and Public Policy, makes the following claim about Covid-19 in the U.S.: "The U.S. has the highest number of cases, and the highest death rate, per capita, of any nation of the world..." without providing any documentation for her claim? Does she unquestionably trust the truthfulness of China's claims that they have had only 4,637 deaths in a population of 1.4 billion people? And is every country using the exact same criteria in tabulating their confirmed cases and deaths for the virus?
John Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center provides this 05-16-20 updated perspective to Dail's implication that the U.S. is an uncontrolled hotbed of disease and death due to the coronavirus. According to their research data, the U.S. ranks eighth in the world with an observed case-fatality ratio of 6%. Also according to their research data, the U.S. ranks eleventh in the world when the number of deaths per 100,000 general population are looked at: 27.13 deaths/100,000 people. So can Dail claim the U.S. has the highest numbers per capita without doing some cherry picking?
In her second paragraph Dail claims the spread of the virus "continues unabated." What statistics is Dail using to base her "continues unabated" claim upon? The coronavirus data shown on the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website shows the number of cumulative coronavirus cases has increased while the number of new cases has remained relatively flat for nearly two months now. So, how does "continues unabated" fit the reality of Wisconsin? The curve has been flattened. Gov. Evers 25 million dollar emergency hospital, assembled at State Fair Park in Milwaukee for the purpose of receiving and treating Covid-19 patients that were predicted to overwhelm our hospitals already in place, received and treated ZERO Covid-19 patients. And the spread of the virus continues unabated?
Dail says in her letter, "The only way we can possibly survive to live another day, is ..., accept that we are all in this together, and start acting like it." The fact is Prof. Dail, we all are not in this together! Since Dail says she is retired, I think we can assume she is receiving Social Security and she definitely is receiving a state pension from Wisconsin Employee Trust Fund as a retired UW professor. Therefore several questions for Prof. Dail. Has your Social Security checks stopped coming or been reduced? Has your state pension fund check from ETF stopped coming or been reduced? (In fact I know it was just increased by the ETF.) And did you receive your $1200 stimulus check on top of your continued unaffected Social Security and pension income?
Dail does not seem to realize that many of the folks whom she labeled as stupid, selfish, and ignorant, lost their monthly paychecks and just got a stimulus check while she was not affected financially one bit. A single mother wanting to go back to work to provide continued adequate housing and food for her three kids is not stupid, selfish and arrogant. The owners of a small family business wanting to open it, into which they have poured their life savings, and who are now losing their business because they were shut down while their big box competitors were allowed to remain open, are not stupid, selfish or ignorant. The young farmers dumping their milk, euthanizing their unsellable hogs, plowing under their ripened crops, or not being able to market their beef animals due to the economic impact of an extended lock down are not being selfish, stupid, or ignorant for wanting lock down restrictions eased.
In her letter Dail totally ignores the impact a depressed world economy, created by an economic shutdown, will have upon those living in poverty in the world. Researchers for Kings College London and Australian National University have warned that, "economic contractions caused by Covid-19 shutdowns could push 500 million people into poverty, reversing 30 years of economic improvement. (source: United Nations World Institute for Economic Development) A study done by the United Nations World Food Program found that lockdowns and the economic recession caused by Covid-19 may exacerbate an already dire worldwide hunger crisis that would push 265 million people to the brink of starvation by the end of the year. Are these millions of poverty stricken people stupid, selfish, and ignorant for wanting to be able to live and survive on the paltry $2.00/day they were living on before this pandemic economic disaster took those two dollars/day away?
The concerns Dail expressed in her letter appear to be narrow in focus and selfish in motive. And that is sad! This is not just a Wisconsin issue, it is a worldwide issue. If we are truly in this together, then we should also have a concern for the impact an economic shutdown induced recession/depression will have upon those in the world who have been living everyday on less than what it costs us to buy a two liter bottle of soda.
Michael Mueller
Rewey, WI

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