Wisconsinites keep infecting their neighbors with COVID-19, but still many don’t care enough to stop it — 11/13/20

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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Today we highlight a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story voicing frustrations from public health officials as Wisconsinites continue to shrug off calls to physically distance, wear a mask and take other steps to avoid infecting their neighbors with COVID-19. 

“Now, many people — particularly those who are younger or without medical conditions that make them more susceptible to severe complications — expect to experience only mild symptoms if they become infected,” Guy Boulton reports. “The result has been a certain amount of acceptance, even fatalism, about the pandemic — and that, too, has made it harder to change people’s behavior.”

Also muddling public health messaging, as Wisconsin Watch has reported: Wisconsin’s polarized politics and rampant misinformation spreading on social media

The Department of Health Services on Friday reported 7,777 additional COVID-19 infections, yet another daily record. DHS also reported 58 new deaths linked to the virus, pushing the state’s pandemic death toll to 2,573.

Just 11% of the state’s intensive care beds were unfilled Friday, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association. 

Top Stories

Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Registered nurse Luke Manderle monitors IVs for a COVID-19 patient in the hallway of an intensive care unit Thursday, November 5, 2020 at UW Hospital in Madison, Wis. The controls for the IVs are in the hallway so nurses do not have to enter a patient’s room. The U.S. is contending with its third, and worst, wave of the virus yet. On Wednesday for the first time, more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in a day.

‘People in the community don’t seem to care’: Wisconsin hospitals’ struggles with COVID surge isn’t getting people to change behavior Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Catastrophic’ lack of hospital beds in Upper Midwest as coronavirus cases surge  The Washington Post

Fox Cities nursing homes demand state leaders come up with plan to control COVID-19 in Wisconsin Appleton Post-Crescent 

Catholic schools head, teachers union president respond to order to close all school buildings in Racine  The Journal Times 

Should your child participate in the winter sports season? The data is limited, and mixed. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

As COVID-19 surge sets records, Gov. Tony Evers says relief package should be completed next week Wisconsin State Journal 

Local hospitals say staffing a concern as COVID-19 surges Janesville Gazette 

Virus surge: Schools abandon classes, states retreat Associated Press 

Labs sound alarm on coronavirus testing capacity, supplies POLITICO 

What are we missing? And how are you coping? Help us provide critical information and accountability by filling out this form or emailing us at tips@wisconsinwatch.org.

Quotable

“You watch patients who are young and who should have had good lives die without their families by them, and their families being distraught, and then you go out through your community and you see people partying and going to bars. We can do anything for two months … But surge after surge, it’s hard for everybody.”

— Dr. Gregory Schmidt, associate chief medical officer at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, speaking to ProPublica

“If you look at the number of cases based on the size of the population, Wisconsin is the third highest in the country … These are much more than just numbers. They’re big numbers, they’re staggering numbers, but these are people. These are people from your community, these are your family members, these are your friends.”

— Rear Admiral Nancy Knight, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Health Protection, as quoted by WPR 

“The largest amount of spread comes from small family gatherings. People think, ‘Well, I’m not sick, I’m fine, it’s OK to have dinner with six or seven close family members.’… But inevitably, one in three people has the virus, and they may not have any symptoms.” 

— Dr. Paul Casey, emergency department medical director at Bellin hospital in Green Bay, speaking to CNBC 

Data to note

WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin’s startling trends in COVID-19 infections, deaths and hospitalizations.

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: tips@wisconsinwatch.org.

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