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Experts know how to limit the spread of COVID-19: encourage people to wear masks and keep a distance — fundamentals of a pandemic response that have remained unchanged for years. But many Wisconsinites are ignoring the guidance, transforming the state into one of the country’s biggest virus hotspots, Bram Sable-Smith reports for Wisconsin Watch and WPR.
A key ingredient is missing from the state’s COVID-19 response: clear and consistent messaging. But resistance from GOP lawmakers during a presidential election year and legal wrangling are sending mixed signals to residents — thwarting the collective action needed to quell the public health crisis, Sable-Smith reports. Wisconsinites are living and dying with the consequences.
The report comes as the Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 45 additional COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, second only to Tuesday’s record death toll of 64.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, meanwhile, reports that Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, “is calling for more testing, faster testing and is considering a second state relief package to help Wisconsin navigate the coronavirus pandemic,” following the Legislature’s months of inaction and resistance detailed in Sable-Smith’s report.
While in court to stop mask rules, Robin Vos calls to remove politics from COVID response — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Election 2020: How to safely cast your ballot Nov. 3 — Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
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
As Wisconsin fails to control the coronavirus, WisContext offers these visualizations of the startling trends in infections and deaths.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin set another record for COVID-19 hospitalizations on Wednesday, with 1,439 patients — up from 1,385 on Tuesday.
People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: email@example.com.
Socially distanced connection from bridge to hospital room means the world to Neenah couple — Appleton Post-Crescent
Pandemic only boosted Wisconsin’s $7.8 billion outdoor economy — Wisconsin State Journal
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.