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Today we highlight our story about Wisconsinites who believe the danger of the coronavirus pandemic has been greatly overblown — and the factors that lead to denialism about a virus that has killed more than 280,000 Americans, including more than 3,800 in Wisconsin.
Dan of Muskego, Wisconsin, is among the skeptics who spoke to Wisconsin Watch’s Howard Hardee. Dan believes restrictions aimed at curbing the pandemic are efforts by Democrats to “tank” the economy and force people to become dependent on government handouts. He asked that his last name not be published to avoid online harassment. University of Wisconsin-Madison communications professor Dietram Scheufele says such conspiratorial thinking is not unusual during times of national crises.
COVID-19 killed a thousand Wisconsinites in three weeks. These residents don’t see the danger. — Wisconsin Watch
Wisconsin contracts with staffing agency to hire more hospital, nursing home personnel — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
State officials: Post-Thanksgiving COVID-19 surge may not be here yet — Wisconsin State Journal
‘I can’t wait another 7 months’: Thousands wait for appeals on denied unemployment claims — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Federal red tape could slow distribution of Pfizer vaccine originating in Wisconsin and going to other states — The Journal Times
Wisconsin expects first batch of COVID-19 vaccines soon, general public may not see it until mid-2021 — Wisconsin State Journal
State Supreme Court hears arguments on Public Health school closure order — Cap Times
‘Kick in the teeth’: Small businesses face higher taxes because of PPP loans — WPR
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Data to note
WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths. The state’s count of confirmed infections has dropped from a mid-November peak in recent weeks, but a relatively high rate of positive tests signals that more testing is needed to confirm the true number of infections in communities, DHS Secretary Andrea Palm said Tuesday, according to WPR.
DHS on Tuesday reported 68 deaths, pushing Wisconsin’s total COVID-19 death toll to 3,806.
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.
People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
YMCA partners with Feeding America to fight growing food insecurity — TMJ4 News
Neighbors decorating ‘war’ benefits Dodge County Food Pantry — Beaver Dam Daily Citizen
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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.