Monday, September 27, 2021

COVID stays high as school begins in Wisconsin. But with a gap between vaxxed/unvaxxed kids, places

A quick look at COVID in Wisconsin shows that cases have stuck at around 2,700 a day over the last couple of weeks, with the spike starting in the first full weeks after Labor Day - coinciding with the start of the school year.

Reported deaths have tracked along with the rise in cases, with 4 straight weeks of an average of 10 deaths a day or more. I am holding off on the last week of reports, as it often takes the Wisconsin Department of Health Services a week or two to track back to date of death from the virus.

But living in heavily-vaxxed Dane County with no kids, I feel a lot more comfortable than I would if I was in a low-vaxxed community with kids around. Especially kids under 11 (who cannot be vaccinated). I've mentioned how cases have spiked up among children under 18 in the state since school started up, but it's also worth mentioning that cases among those 18-24 have dropped significantly compared to the major breakouts we had on college campuses at this time last year.

That's a drop of nearly 2/3 compared to what we were dealing with last year. With most UW campuses with rates of vaccination at or above the state rate (including Madison at 91%), that definitely seems to be another bit of proof that getting the vax reduces your susceptibility to getting COVID in the first place, in addition to greatly reducing the chance that your bout with the virus will be serious if you do get it.

Moving down a level, it's worth noting that 51.6% of kids age 16-17 and 46.1% of kids 12-15 have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But those figures are widely variable depending on where you are in the state. Only 14 counties had more than ½ of children in both of the 12-15 and 16-17 ages that have gotten a COVID-19 shot, and 3 of those were barely above 50% at the end of last week. And I think the list tells us something.

Counties with more than 50% of children ages 12-17 receiving vaccine

Brown (50.4%)
Columbia (50.2%)
Eau Claire
La Crosse
Waukesha (50.1%)

Lot of blue counties in there (the list includes 8 of the 14 Wisconsin counties that voted for Biden). Of the other 6, 4 went to Trump less than 10%, and the other two are Ozaukee and Waukesha – which had two of the biggest shifts toward Dems in the state.

I'm interested in Wednesday's county-by-county update from DHS, to see if the "red vs blue" disparities in new cases that we have recently seen become even more apparent, as the school year progresses and the districts, parents and students adjust to the jump in cases....or don't.

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