Coronavirus Has Now Killed More Than 1,000 in Wisconsin



By Julian Emerson

August 11, 2020

Evers expresses sympathy as hospitalization numbers head higher again.

The number of Wisconsin residents who have died of COVID-19 officially passed 1,000 Tuesday, a grim reminder of the significant toll the virus continues to take in the state and elsewhere. 

Wisconsin Department of Health Services figures show 1,006 people have died from the virus since March, an increase of eight from Monday’s reported death number of 998. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 61,785 Tuesday, 724 more than the previous day. 

The 1,000-death milestone and the increasing growth of virus cases in recent weeks prompted a response from Gov. Tony Evers, who on Tuesday issued a news release expressing his concern about the ongoing deaths. 

“Even one death from COVID-19 is one too many,” Evers said in the release. “To all the Wisconsinites dealing with the loss of a family member, a friend, a coworker or a neighbor, I express my deepest condolences.”

To try to curb the spread of the virus, and to prevent future deaths, Evers issued an emergency order requiring face coverings to be worn in public gathering places statewide. The mandatory mask order took effect Aug. 1 and fines of up to $200 can be issued for people who don’t abide by the regulation. 

More than 300 people died during virus surges in early April and early June. Then, in late June the death rate dropped to about one-third as high as during those peaks. 

During the past month, the average number of deaths and the seven-day average of new cases have increased sharply. For instance, on July 9 the seven-day average was two deaths per day, a figure that has now grown to a rolling average of eight deaths per day.

Of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, 52 have reported at least one COVID-19-related death. Milwaukee County has by far the highest death total, at 458, followed by Racine County at 79, Kenosha County at 60, Waukesha County at 59, Brown County at 54 and Dane County at 38.

As the number of cases of COVID-19 has grown significantly since Memorial Day, so too has the total of patients being hospitalized because of the virus. DHS reported 414 patients currently hospitalized for treatment for COVID-19, the highest figure since May 29, according to Urban Milwaukee

Another 207 hospital patients being treated for COVID-19 symptoms are awaiting test results, figures show. The 61 new hospitalizations reported Tuesday is the highest daily figure in two weeks.  

The virus has impacted communities of color especially, figures show. While Black people make up 7 percent of Wisconsin’s population, Blacks account for 21 percent of COVID-19 deaths. 

Likewise, the state’s Latinx population also has been hit hard by the virus. The infection rate of the virus is more than five times higher than in white people in Wisconsin, and the virus’ death rate is more than four times higher for Black people than for whites. 

Many factors such as employment, income, housing and access to health care impact health outcomes, including those related to COVID-19. Those factors help account for the higher infection and death rates among Wisconsin’s people of color, the news release states. 

“COVID-19 is present in every corner of Wisconsin, and it is up to each of us to do our part to stop the spread,” DHS Secretary-designee Andrea Palm said.

Slowing the spread of COVID-19 will depend in large part on people staying home when possible, maintaining social distance and wearing face masks in public, Palm said. While many Wisconsin residents are engaging in those practices, some are openly refusing to wear masks, saying doing so infringes on their freedom. 

Republicans in the state Legislature have said they would convene to vote to overturn Evers’ mask order, which expires Sept. 28. But state Rep. Adam Neylon, R-Pewaukee, said the Republican-controlled state Assembly doesn’t have enough votes to reverse the order. 


CATEGORIES: Coronavirus


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