A Pro-Life Wisconsin gala was attended by a number of GOP lawmakers. Riley Vetterkind
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Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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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.

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A Pro-Life Wisconsin gala was attended by a number of GOP lawmakers. Riley Vetterkind

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“This was the nightmare situation we talked about, what we were trying to prevent, and unfortunately, we didn’t prevent it.”

— Dr. Ashok Rai, Prevea Health President and CEO, speaking to WBAY-TV about how COVID-19 is overwhelming hospitals 

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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 levelsWPR 

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