Dear editor,

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports the number of positive COVID-19 tests is decreasing while the number of COVID-19 deaths is increasing. We can see this on the graphs updated daily in the Wausau Pilot and Review. How are we to interpret this seemingly contradictory evidence? Does this mean the COVID-19 virus is becoming more deadly? No! It means that many people with COVID-19 symptoms are not getting tested or reporting their illness to their doctor. They do not want to reveal their contacts or be inconvenienced by a two-week quarantine. Their reluctance to self-quarantine puts the rest of us at risk of getting COVID-19 and dying.

If I violate traffic laws and kill a pedestrian with my car, that is a crime called manslaughter. What should we call carelessly transmitting a deadly disease to an innocent friend, relative or stranger?

When I was a child in the 1940s, my brother was diagnosed with scarlet fever. The county health officer put a sign on our door declaring that our house was quarantined and no one could enter or leave. My father and sister lived in a nearby vacant cottage so they could go to work and school. My mother, brother and I could not leave the house.

The health officer returned days later to observe my brother through a window. He shook his head from side to side and walked away. The next time he returned to observe my brother through the window, he smiled, nodded his head and took the sign down. 

I like to think our sacrifice saved lives. What has happened to us since?

Richard LeClair of Wausau

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.