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Today we highlight a story from our partners at Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service about a less obvious side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic: a plunge in childhood lead testing.
Milwaukee has seen a 39% decline in tests performed during the pandemic and a 27% drop in the number of children tested for lead, Edgar Mendez reports.
The trend comes as parents are keeping children out of clinics due to the pandemic and workers are visiting fewer homes to conduct lead assessments, Mendez reports.
Lead is a neurotoxin that damages development of the brain and nervous system, particularly in young children. Mendez reports that about 9% of Milwaukee children younger than 5 who were tested in 2018 had blood lead levels above the threshold at which the federal Centers for Disease Control recommends intervention.
“Fueling more concerns are the rising number of children spending more time at home due to virtual schooling and other factors, and that older homes and buildings are primary sources of lead exposure,” Mendez reports.
Milwaukee sees decrease in lead testing during pandemic — Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
5 more Wisconsin prisoners die from COVID-19, bringing DOC’s total to 10 deaths — Wisconsin State Journal
SCOWIS won’t weigh reinstating Wisconsin capacity limits — FOX6 Milwaukee
Juneau County Board votes against emergency declaration as cases of COVID-19 rise — Juneau County Star-Times
UW focused on getting back at practice. After that, they’ll worry about chances to reach Big Ten title game. — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Data to note
DHS on Thursday reported nearly 6,000 new infections of COVID-19 — for the second day in a row. The agency also reported 38 additional deaths from disease, bringing the state’s pandemic death toll to 2,194.
WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin’s startling trends in COVID-19 infections, deaths and hospitalizations.
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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.