Thursday, July 15, 2021

COVID higher in Wisconsin, too. But still at low levels that we can hold down

As we hear about COVID cases jumping back up in many states in the southern half of America, let's see how things are going up here.

Today’s 7-day average of new infections held at 138, still lower than any time between April 2020 and June 2021, but the highest that we've seen in 6 weeks. And what’s concerning is that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services says 13 Wisconsin counties had significantly higher amounts of new infections over the last 2 weeks than in the 2 weeks ending July 7.

DHS also does a list of levels of COVID activity, but what DHS describes as “high” COVID activity is sometimes less than the rate of infections in places with “medium” activity, because it looks at whether cases are going up or down by any significant amount. For example, Dunn County has a rate of new cases that is more than double Dane County’s, but because it’s grown in Dane while it shrunk in Dunn, so Dane has “high” activity and Dunn is medium.

And you can see where several counties had growing caseloads, so the picture isn’t as bad as that map might show. But it is concerning to see cases being nearly twice what they were at the start of July, and it needs to be limited now.

There isn’t a lot of connection between vaccination rates and COVID infections from what I can tell, although I also wonder if the rural counties with low vaccination rates have such a small sample size and low numbers of people wanting to care about COVID in general. This would make it hard to find people who test at all, let alone test positive.

Fortunately, COVID deaths are still around 1 a day in Wisconsin, but as we now know, hospitalizations and deaths trail case numbers by about 4-6 weeks. And given that vaccination seems to be even more effective at preventing people from serious health problems if they do get COVID, maybe that's where we'll see the disparities show up. I hope it doesn't come to that, but I wouldn't be shocked if it does.

Play smart out there folks, because there's still about 1/2 of Wisconsinites that haven't gotten the shot. I have no sympathy for the ones who have chosen not to be vaxxed at this point (especially if you're doing anything where you go out in public), but there are kids and others that haven't had the chance. Let's use July to batter this virus back down in Wisconsin.

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