Credit: Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

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Even with vaccinations well underway, Michigan is suffering a surge of COVID-19 infections that has overwhelmed hospitals with more patients than seen during the fall peak of the pandemic. Conditions in Wisconsin are hardly as dire, but Michigan’s experience offers a warning of the dangers still possible at this stage of the pandemic. 

Michigan’s transformation into a national COVID-19 hotspot, fueled by infections among young people, is likely linked to its relaxation of public health protections and the emergence of  B.1.1.7, a more contagious variant of the virus, experts told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 

“With the recent overturning of Wisconsin’s mask mandate as the variant was already gradually ticking up here, health officials worry it’s only a matter of time before Wisconsin sees its own surge,” report Rory Linnane, Daphne Chen and Tim Bannon. 

Vaccines remain highly effective against the virus, but states have not yet vaccinated enough people to prevent another spike without taking other public health measures, Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told the reporters.

Top Stories

The Arrowhead girls hockey co-op celebrates in January after scoring on the Lakeshore Lightning co-op team. In Michigan, young people are clearly driving the latest surge in COVID-19, likely because they are tired of precautions and more vulnerable to the new variant. Youth sporting events and school-based outbreaks have been the major culprits. Credit: Scott Ash / Now News Group, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Michigan is overwhelmed by another COVID-19 surge, this one driven by young people. Is Wisconsin next?Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Wisconsin’s child care system doesn’t work well for anyone — and the pandemic made it worseWPR 

Students learning virtually more likely to be in Wisconsin’s urban centers, new data showMilwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Local governments will get billions in COVID-19 relief. Now, they’re figuring out how to spend itWPR 

COVID-19 might’ve been only a preview of Wisconsin’s impending ‘Silver Tsunami’ of aging patients The Journal Times

Liver disease up in young adults, with possible tie to pandemic-related drinking, UW Health saysWisconsin State Journal 

Milwaukee’s effort to fight ‘overdose pandemic’ during coronavirus pandemicTMJ4 News 

Alarming spike in Great Lakes drownings tied to COVID-19, study finds Detroit Free Press 

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Quotable

“My worry is that while we’re doing a good job in general as a state with vaccination, we’re not anywhere near that telltale herd or community immunity that would really slow down spread dramatically. And we’re sort of in a race right now against these, these variants.”

Dipesh Navsaria, a physician who serves as president of the Wisconsin chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, speaking to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Data to note

Click on the image above to see Wisconsin DHS COVID-19 vaccine data, which is updated daily.

Here’s a look at the Department of Health Services’ vaccine dashboard, which showed Monday that 78.4% of Wisconsinites ages 65 and older have gotten at least one dose — as have 37.4% of the state’s overall population. One in four Wisconsinites is fully vaccinated. Racial disparities persist in distributing vaccines. The shares of Black, Hispanic and Native American residents to receive a dose remain below that of white residents. 

Public health officials continue to urge Wisconsinites to wear masks and practice physical distancing until vaccinations are more widely distributed — particularly as infections again are increasing. On Monday, the state DHS reported a 7-day average of 789 new cases. The state also reported three new COVID-19 deaths, pushing the full toll to 6,680. 

WisContext offers this visualization. 

Find a vaccine site near you

DHS has this interactive map of vaccine providers across Wisconsin. Vaccinations are generally by appointment only and it may take time to schedule appointments with providers due to limited supplies of vaccines. Curious about how well your county is doing on vaccinations? The Washington Post created this searchable map

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

As COVID-19 cases dropped and vaccinations rose, this Neenah man battled for his life at an Oshkosh hospital Oshkosh Northwestern 

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