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President Donald Trump has participated in nearly three dozen rallies since mid-August, mostly at airport hangers. A USA Today analysis found that the growth rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases surged following rallies in at least five places — including Marathon County, the newspaper reported Thursday.
Marathon County’s cases were increasing at a 17% pace two weeks before the rally at the Central Wisconsin Airport. That rate spiked to 67% two weeks after the rally — more than double the state’s rate during those weeks, report Erin Mansfield, Josh Salman and Dinah Voyles Pulver.
“Although there’s no way to determine definitively if cases originated at Trump’s rallies, public health experts say the gatherings fly in the face of all recommendations to curb the spread of the coronavirus,” the reporters wrote.
Meanwhile, the Wisconsin State Journal reports that Republican lawmakers Thursday night attended an indoor mass gathering hosted by an anti-abortion organization — and many did not wear masks. Attendees included Rep. Joe Sanfelippo, R-New Berlin, chairman of the Assembly committee on health.
And the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Wisconsin GOP lawmakers and aides are facing a coronavirus outbreak following recent in-person gatherings.
“But Republican leaders would not disclose how many or which lawmakers have contracted COVID-19, nor would they answer questions about contact tracing efforts,” the newspaper reports, citing a dozen unnamed sources.
Trump’s campaign made stops nationwide. Coronavirus cases surged in his wake in at least five places. — USA Today
Appeals Court blocks Gov. Tony Evers’ limits on public gatherings and capacity in Wisconsin restaurants and bars — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Amid COVID-19 surge, GOP lawmakers, including health chairman, attend indoor mass gathering — Wisconsin State Journal
Wisconsin Republicans have been facing an outbreak among lawmakers and aides. But they don’t want to talk about it. — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
State bar all utilities from shutting off water, power and heat until next spring — WPR
The Trump administration shut a vaccine safety office last year. What’s the plan now? — The New York Times
Wisconsin men charged with scamming $1 million out of COVID-19 relief program meant for small businesses — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Protests and rallies in the time of COVID-19: What does the law allow? — Wisconsin State Journal
With a 20% infection rate and nine deaths, King veterans home asks for public’s help to stop COVID-19 spread — Appleton Post-Crescent
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Food access trouble?
We know that when classes are virtual, many Wisconsin students and families lose access to food schools provide. And as the school year starts, some meal sites are closing. Share your experience with News414, Wisconsin Watch’s service journalism collaboration with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Outlier Media. Click here for details.
You can also view a list of Milwaukee-area food distribution sites for students here.
Data to note
Wisconsin continues to set daily records for COVID-19 hospitalizations as the state fails to control the coronavirus. The Wisconsin Hospital Association on Friday reported 1,243 hospital patients with COVID-19 — up from 1,230 a day earlier. Here are the latest trends from WHA’s dashboard.
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The pandemic has squeezed many Fox Valley families’ finances. Pantries can be their lifeline. — Appleton Post-Crescent
Wisconsin counties see improving unemployment rates, many close to pre-pandemic levels — WPR
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