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As Wisconsin begins to roll out the coronavirus vaccine, public health experts are warning residents not to let their guard down against a virus that continues to kill dozens of Wisconsinites each day.
The Department of Health Services is prioritizing health care workers as it distributes early shipments of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, Corrinne Hess reports for WPR. But it will likely take months to vaccinate most of the general population, meaning mask-wearing and social distancing remain crucial to limit infections and deaths in the pandemic’s homestretch.
What’s more, Hess reports: Trials have illustrated the vaccine’s effectiveness for preventing sickness, but experts aren’t sure whether vaccinated people could still spread the virus to others.
“We’re probably talking about wearing masks and social distancing through the summer, most likely,” Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin, told Hess.
Confirmed new infections have plunged in recent weeks — down to average of 3,421 cases reported Tuesday from peak averages above 6,500 a month ago, DHS data show. But those figures are still hovering above infection averages from before October, and public health officials have fretted about a recent drop in testing.
DHS reported 54 new COVID-19 deaths Tuesday, pushing Wisconsin’s total to 4,122 during the pandemic.
Indoor gatherings of up to 10 people allowed under new Dane County COVID-19 order — Wisconsin State Journal
East High student’s death last month confirmed as COVID-19 — Wisconsin State Journal
Data to note
WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
Calculate your exposure risk
In Wisconsin, even small gatherings can carry a big risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to a nationwide tool that estimates the danger by the size of gathering and county in which it is held. Data scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University developed the tool, which you can find here.
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Helping Hands 2020: Children offer hope to others in a world complicated by COVID-19 — Wisconsin State Journal
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