Recent Stories

Experts warn tear gas could worsen coronavirus crisis — 6/3/20

As protests of police brutality against black people continue to grip the country following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, some police forces — including in Madison and Milwaukee — have leaned on the firing of throat-stinging tear gas to disperse crowds. Public health experts are warning that the tactic increases the risk of respiratory ailments such as COVID-19, Mike Baker reports for The New York Times.

Public health experts weigh in as police protests intersect with pandemic— 6/2/20

Nationwide mass gatherings following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis are stirring concerns that the spread of COVID-19 will accelerate, but a host of public health experts and groups say that the issue being protested — systemic racism and police brutality against people of color — is also damaging to public health.

Today we highlight a story by Madeline Heim, a former Wisconsin Watch intern who now reports for the Appleton Post Crescent.

Why Wisconsin is blocking pandemic aid to people on federal disability — 6/1/20

Wisconsinites during the pandemic have filed some 2.4 million unemployment claims, and nearly 400,000 have yet to be processed — leaving many waiting for weeks and even months without income while the quagmire fuels partisan bickering. Today we highlight our latest story, which focuses on a subset of claims that the Department of Workforce Development has denied.

More than 200 Waupun inmates test positive for COVID-19. That number may grow — 5/29/20

More than 200 inmates at Waupun Correctional Institution have tested positive for COVID-19 after the Wisconsin National Guard tested 1,500 people at the prison, 1,181 of them inmates. The diagnoses represented 35% of about 600 results reported so far, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The results come as criminal justice reform advocates call on Gov. Tony Evers to cut populations at the state’s overcrowded prisons to protect vulnerable inmates. But as Wisconsin Watch reported last week, Evers refuses to wield his power to release inmates despite campaigning on a promise to cut prison populations by 50%.

Why Wisconsin may see a surge of pandemic evictions — 5/28/20

The COVID-19 pandemic has added financial burdens to renters statewide, and housing advocates now expect a wave of evictions following the expiration of Gov. Tony Evers’ temporary ban on evictions and home foreclosures, reports Allison Dikanovic, Wisconsin Watch’s engagement reporting fellow. Dikanovic explains how people who are at risk of eviction can navigate the legal process.

Wisconsin sees biggest one-day jump in coronavirus cases — 5/27/20

As Wisconsin counties begin to ease their lockdown restrictions — and the United States passed the 100,000-death mark — the state on Wednesday saw its biggest one-day jump in COVID-19 deaths, cases and tests, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported. And testing at Waupun Correctional Institution confirms the virus is spreading through Wisconsin’s overcrowded prison system. The number of infected inmates ballooned this week as the Wisconsin National Guard began testing thousands of prisoners.