Tito Izard, president and chief executive officer for Milwaukee Health Services Inc. Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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More infectious variants. COVID-19 reinfections. Persistent racial disparities in vaccinations. As deaths, hospitalizations and cases of COVID-19 continue to drop nationwide — and Wisconsin shoots to the top of the states when it comes to daily vaccinations per capita — new worrisome trends are emerging. And with that come conflicting predictions on whether the United States is leaving the pandemic behind — or even more dangerous times lie ahead. Regardless of which scenario is correct, experts’ advice remains the same: Wear a mask. Maintain distance from others not in your household. Avoid large gatherings. Wash your hands frequently.

Top Stories 

Tito Izard, president and chief executive officer for Milwaukee Health Services Inc. Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Racial disparities in Milwaukee County’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution continue Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin moves to top of nation in daily COVID-19 vaccinations as plans for free clinics ramp up Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Why the U.S. is underestimating Covid reinfection Kaiser Health News

Despite dip in Covid-19 cases, expert says US is in the ‘eye of the hurricane’ as variants spread CNN

State’s first community-based COVID-19 vaccine clinic to be in Rock County Wisconsin State Journal

The former Cudahy Kmart will become a community vaccination clinic by March Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Where do vaccine doses go, and who gets them? The algorithms decide New York Times 

New Dane County order eases COVID-19 restrictions as hopes turn to vaccine Cap Times

Dr. James H. Stein: What you need to know about the virus, vaccines and facemasks Wisconsin State Journal

Strict adherence to safety protocols key as Milwaukee teams prepare to welcome back fans WPR

Busing among the logistical challenges as some area schools return for in-person learning Cap Times

What are we missing? And how are you coping? Help us provide critical information and accountability by filling out this form or emailing us at tips@wisconsinwatch.org.

Quotable

“These numbers are troubling, especially considering that these groups have suffered a very high burden of disease, as seen in cases, hospitalizations and deaths. These disparities represent a significant equity gap in vaccinations and one that we are focused and committed to improving.”

— Milwaukee County emergency management official Ben Weston reacting to the fact that a disproportionately small percentage of the COVID-19 vaccine has gone to the county’s Black and Latinx residents.

“The big wall is about to hit us again, and these are the new variants.”

— Baylor University’s Dr. Peter Hotez, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children’s Hospital, describing the current state of the pandemic as the “eye of the hurricane.”

Data to note

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reported 543 new cases and just one additional COVID-19 death on Monday, bringing the statewide death toll to 6,055. The agency said 165,370 people in Wisconsin have been fully vaccinated, with another 400,000-plus who have had at least one dose. 

WisContext offers this visualization of Wisconsin COVID-19 infections and deaths.

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DHS offers this snapshot of the state’s progress in administering vaccines. 

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

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us: tips@wisconsinwatch.org

Pet groomers, veterinarians seeing higher demand for services as more animals finding homes Beloit Daily News

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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.

The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism's editorial and public engagement and marketing staff.