Dear editor,

I received the the following letter from a medical colleague regarding the science and statistics pertinent to the Covid-19 crisis in Marathon county. Like myself, they are concerned with the lack of transparency as to the current status of the disease in our local community. Without facts, we are vulnerable to fear and misconceptions. In this remarkable time, it is distressing that those who should be our counselors and medical experts are afraid to make their voices heard. In a society where free speech and freedom of debate are ensconced in our Bill of Rights, it is sad that physicians should fear reprisals for speaking the truth.  

I am sharing this with their permission and can verify its authorship. The letter reads as follows:

To my fellow Friends and Compatriots,

As we find ourselves in the midst of the coronavirus “Lockdown” in the state of Wisconsin, I am daily finding more absurdity in our surroundings.  I’m sure that many of us are worried about not only our personal futures, but also the economic future of the community we love.  I am also struck by the fact that OUR LOCAL DATA on coronavirus has not been really shared with our community, business leaders, and local businesses. I think it is important to understand the local threat, and would suggest that our regional media and medical systems have done a poor job of getting this information to us.  I’d like to take a brief moment, for those of you who are interested, to share this information as I believe that it will shine an interesting light on our “pandemic.”  This is not a political piece, as I think the implications cross all politics, and communities like ours are at risk of never being the same in the very near future.  Please take from it what you will, for this is data to be interpreted, but what follows below are the facts of the current state of the coronavirus in our county.

Please also feel free to share this information, as I believe that local public is not getting this information.  If any of you guys have a desire to discuss these issues more with me, please reach out to me as I’d love to discuss in more detail with those who desire.  It should be imminently clear that we are not New York City, nor even Milwaukee, and we are certainly not what the national media would like most of us to believe. Thanks for your time.

This is the data from Marathon County, Wisconsin, as of 1pm on May 3, 2020.  We are now in our 7th week of the “Lockdown.” To reference, we have over 135,000 people that reside in Marathon County.

            -Since the outbreak started in the late January, our county has seen a grand    total of 19 people that have actually tested positive for the coronavirus. 

            -In the last 2 weeks we have had only 1 person test positive for the       coronavirus.

            -Less than ½ of those patients that have tested positive have required admission to the hospital.

            -There has been only 1 death, unfortunate, but this was an 84 year old from a nursing home.

            -At the local hospital, they are averaging less than 3 patients/week in the        designated “COVID” unit that ultimately test positive.

            -There have been 3 patients that required a ventilator, 2 have been      discharged to home.

            – At on point over this last weekend, the “COVID” unit was closed because        there were ZERO patients in the hospital that had “COVID” or “Presumptive     COVID” (awaiting test results).

            -We meet ALL metrics per CDC guidelines for consideration to open our          community.

            – In the state of Wisconsin we have had a total of 334 deaths to date, and         approximately 6600 cases diagnosed by positive testing. Over ½ have been in           Milwaukee. Total hospitalizations statewide is not an available data point I can find, but is likely to be atleast ½ of the total cases diagnosed “test positive,” and could really be A LOT less than ½.

            – Of the 70 counties statewide, 37 have had no deaths, and another 26 have     had less than 5 deaths.

In an effort to lend some element of context to these numbers, I think it is worth comparing to influenza.  This is not to suggest that the coronavirus is more or less deadly than the influenza seasonal viruses.  This is simply to try to give some context to the numbers.  Bear in mind when looking at these influenza numbers that we are already in a scenario where we have “herd immunity” and a yearly vaccine (estimates suggest on average that 50% of Wisconsites actually voluntarily receive). In the 2017-2018 influenza season (approximately 5 months in duration) there were 379 total deaths, 975 admissions to an ICU, and over 7,500 hospitalizations in Wisconsin.  All of these numbers are significantly greater than the current coronavirus pandemic.

The single question I ask….

Does the data that we are now starting to understand justify destroying our wonderful community and local economy?

Thanks again for your time. Please stay safe, and I look forward to a time when we may all come together again in celebration!

Thank you for your consideration,

Fernando “Fritz” Riveron, Wausau

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