12 November 2020

Meanwhile, here in Wisconsin...

Wisconsin:  The state that has unraveled the fastest.

The pandemic has worsened across the country over the last two months, but perhaps nowhere as quickly as in Wisconsin.

At the beginning of September, Wisconsin was averaging about 700 cases a day. By this week, it was averaging more than 6,000. Hospitals are packed and more than 300 deaths were reported in the state over the last week, a record. Last week, Wisconsin’s chief health officer quit, noting the enormous pressure on public health officials during the pandemic.

“It took us seven and a half months to get to 100,000 cases,” Gov. Tony Evers said at a news conference on Tuesday evening, after issuing an executive order advising residents to stay home. “But it only took 36 days to add another 100,000. The way things are going, it will take us only 20 days to reach another 100,000.”

Testing centers are overwhelmed, raising the risk of further spread as people who might otherwise learn they are infected delay isolating themselves.

“They told us, ‘Yeah, you should get tested, but we’re out of tests,’” said Tim Cigelske, 39, of Whitefish Bay, of a local testing site he called when his family grew sick. It required multiple phone calls, virtual doctor visits and four trips to testing sites over three days to get himself, his wife and their two children tested, Mr. Cigelske said.

All were positive for the virus. 
It's frankly getting a little scary here.  The situation now is that when you see two people walking down the street, the odds are that one of them is coronavirus positive.  Even something as inoffensive and unobtrusive as the governor's mask mandate has been vigorously opposed by the ignorant self-serving Republican state legislators.  At least here in the blue dot city of Madison, most people are aware of the problem; when I walked at the arboretum this week, every time I saw other walkers coming toward me on a trail, they stopped to put on masks, and so did I.  And I suppose we both held our breaths for a while after passing one another...

The other "worst places in the U.S." are discussed in the New York Times source article.

Addendum: here's the map from the site linked by Pearse O'Leary in his comment:

"So many counties are so far past the Dept. of Health Services' highest classification for case activity, that it needed to create a brand new category...
To be considered for the previous top category, “Very High,” a region’s case rate would have to surpass 350 cases per 100,000 residents over the previous two weeks. Every single one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties has at least doubled that number, with Washburn Co. reporting the lowest rate in the state at 769.6 cases per 100,000 people.

The new “Critically High” level sets the bar at 1,000 cases per 100,000 residents. [only seven counties are below that].


  1. ...republican state legislature not supporting health measures during a pandemic, blue dot in a sea of red. Sounds like you need to be our sister city. This from Austin Texas.

    1. I noticed this morning that our blue dot [Dane County, home to the university] is one of only seven counties in Wisconsin that does not have a "critically high" prevalence of coronavirus (out of 72)

    2. I was a bit shocked to find out that the DHS had to make Wisconsin a new category. https://www.nbc15.com/2020/11/12/covid-19-is-so-bad-in-wisconsin-dhs-needed-a-whole-new-category/

      Stay safe up there.

  2. I never *really* understood how the dark ages happened. How could it come to be? Why would people oppose learning/education/science? I do understand that at that time, science was a burgeoning field and seen as dangerous. Today though, it is amazing to see what people are willing themselves to believe. The powerful agents of disinformation and the Federal Government's intentionally built poor-response. It is a travesty. That we are here, 10 months after it begun, just twiddling our thumbs. The anger I feel at this time is very, very high. It is hard to have faith in our fellow citizens who believe that "like a miracle, it will just go away."

  3. >> The situation now is that when you see two people
    >> walking down the street, the odds are that one
    >> of them is coronavirus positive.

    I admit this is a bit of a macabre view, but Wisconsin is basically done with the herd-immunity experiment. With R>=1, one half of the state gives the disease to the other half over the next week and, presto!, done. All that is left is to pick up the bodies. (I warned you this was macabre.)

    1. I should not have implied that the positivity rate here is 50%. It's about 1/3. But that still means that for two people to both be negative, the odds would be 2/3 x 2/3 = 4/9 so only 44% chance both negative and 56% chance at least one of them positive.


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