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Claire DeRosa / Wisconsin Watch

Wisconsin Watch is a nonprofit newsroom that focuses on government integrity and quality of life issues, and we always provide our news for free.

You can read all of our coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage by signing up for our Wisconsin COVID-19 Update newsletter, and please consider becoming a member to support our nonprofit journalism. 

Today we lead with a programming note: This is Wisconsin Watch’s last daily COVID-19 Update, at least for now. As increased vaccinations allow more Wisconsinites to emerge from more than a year of isolation, fewer people are seeking daily updates on COVID-19’s casualties and how to navigate pandemic life. Ending this newsletter allows us to shift resources to Wisconsin’s slower-moving crises — some that predated the pandemic and perhaps worsened because of it.

Are we declaring the pandemic over? Not at all. More than 100 Wisconsinites have died from COVID-19 since early May, and vaccination rates remain uneven across the state — whether due to choice or lingering barriers to access. A national Washington Post analysis published today finds growing infection rates in counties with lower vaccination rates. If the virus surges here again, we’ll restart this newsletter. In the meantime, we will continue to scrutinize the pandemic in our normal coverage, and we’ll build updates into our Wisconsin Weekly newsletter, which hits inboxes on Fridays. If you don’t already subscribe to Wisconsin Weekly, we’ll move you to that list.

I assembled most editions of this newsletter and feel mixed emotions to see it end after 15 months: joy that COVID-19 has loosened its grip on our lives and grief for the thousands who are no longer here to witness this summer of hope. Although I worked from a privileged position — the safety of my home office — rounding up data on illnesses, deaths and hardship at times took a toll on my mental health, particularly as my family mourned our own losses. Here’s hoping you found this newsletter useful during your own COVID-19 experience. If you have questions or comments about this decision or our broader coverage, you can always reach me at jmalewitz@wisconsinwatch.org.

—   Jim Malewitz, investigations editor  

Top stories

YouTube suspends Sen. Johnson for COVID-19 ‘misinformation’ Associated Press

Coronavirus infections dropping where people are vaccinated, rising where they are not, Post analysis finds — The Washington Post

The peculiar divergence in COVID vaccinations around Milwaukee’s Republican hinterland — PBS Wisconsin

Rural communities fall further behind in COVID-19 vaccination rates — NPR 

Novavax offers U.S. a fourth strong COVID-19 vaccine — The New York Times

Community-based COVID-19 vaccine clinics will reduce hours — WPR 

Dane County airport sees massive increase in travelers, but still shy of pre-pandemic levels — Wisconsin State Journal 

Columbia, Sauk County movie theaters try to recover from pandemic, still seek aid — Portage Daily Register

Madison neighborhood centers gear up for return to normal summer activities — Cap Times

Quotable

“Unfortunately, we are going to see increased hospitalization, and it worries me we may see additional deaths related to it as well.”

Michelle Morris, public health administrator of Missouri’s Polk County, where less than 25% of 30,000 people are vaccinated and nearly 90 new infections were reported in a week, speaking to The Washington Post

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 49.1% of Wisconsinites have received at least one vaccine dose, including 83.9% of those ages 65 and older. Meanwhile, 44.2% of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated, including 80.1% of those older than 65. 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.

On Monday, the state DHS reported a seven-day average of 103 new daily infections, continuing a long-term downward trend in new cases. The state also reported zero new COVID-19 deaths, leaving the full toll at 7,208. 

DHS offers this look at trends in COVID-19 deaths throughout the pandemic.

Find a vaccine site near you

DHS and the federal government have partnered with Vaccine Finder to help Wisconsinites find vaccinations. Vaccinations are often by appointment, but providers are increasingly offering walk-in options. In addition, people seeking COVID-19 shots can text their ZIP code to 438829 to find nearby vaccine providers.  

COVID-19 fact-checking

Not sure if something you heard about COVID-19 is true? FactCheck.org offers this page full of explainers — and debunking of common distortions — about the disease to help you sort out fact from fiction.

Access to some stories listed in the Wisconsin COVID-19 Update may be limited to subscribers of the news organizations that produced them. We urge our readers to consider supporting these important news outlets by subscribing.

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