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Wisconsin has confirmed more than 21,000 COVID-19 cases during the pandemic and 646 deaths, according to the state Department of Health Services. But the virus has struck unevenly, largely sparing some pockets of the state.
Today we highlight a New York Times examination of communities that are bearing the economic pain of the pandemic while seeing few cases of the virus. That includes Outagamie County, just next to hard-hit Brown County. Outagamie County, population 187,885, has a 14.1% unemployment rate but only 277 confirmed cases and 8 deaths.
The report highlighted the shuttering of YMCA centers in a region where one in five people is a member — including older residents who see them as a “second home,” and parents who lean on them for daycare.
“An organization built on service suddenly could not serve — even as the region experienced relatively few confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The centers reopened with restrictions late last month. Before that, only day care services for children of essential workers had been running,” the newspaper reported.
A striking disconnect on the virus: economic pain with little illness — The New York Times
No ‘silver lining’: Trump faces voter backlash amid crises — Associated Press
Shutdowns prevented 60 million coronavirus infections in the U.S., study finds — The Washington Post
15 people linked to Portage County COVID-19 outbreak visited several Stevens Point businesses — Stevens Point Journal
Garbage is up, water use is down and residents seem to know what not to flush amid COVID-19 — Fond du Lac Reporter
Data to note
University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers are putting together resources to help Wisconsinites understand which communities are most prone to COVID-19. Using ZIP code-level data, the researchers have created maps to show the percentage of people who have two or more risk factors for severe complications of the virus.
The researchers with UW’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research cautioned that the maps are most useful to those who understand the data in certain contexts, “including the neighborhood conditions where people live and the opportunity they have to be healthy. It also means understanding the past and present policies and practices in the community.” The researchers added that the numbers are only “part of the story” and should not be used to “reinforce harmful and limiting stereotypes about communities.”
Among the risk factors included on the map:
- Ages 65-85
- Tobacco use
- Severe obesity (a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 during their most recent screening)
- Immunocompromised conditions including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS, malignant cancer or multiple sclerosis
- Serious heart conditions
- Kidney disease
- Lung diseases including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Liver disease
Find more information here.
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Community Heroes: COVID-19 couldn’t stop program that teaches young kids how to read — Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
Art brings messages of solidarity, protest and large swaths of color to State Street — Wisconsin State Journal
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The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (wisconsinwatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, PBS Wisconsin, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.