Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Some progress on COVID in mid-October. But Wisconsin is far from in the clear

It does look like there has been progress on the COVID front in Wisconsin over the last week. The 7-day average of new cases have dropped below 2,000 in the last 2 days for the first time since the middle of September, and has declined by more than 1,000 from the peak that was hit a month ago.

We also saw a notable decline in the number of counties that the Wisconsin Department of Health Services listed as having "critically high" rates of cases in the last 2 weeks, from 16 last week to 8 today. And for the first time in a month, we have a Wisconsin county with a merely "high" rate of cases under 350 per 100,000 for the last 14 days.

Of course it's the overly-vaxxed types of Dane County with their mask mandates in the blue. But we weren't the only ones with falling cases, as more than 1/4 of Wisconsin counties had significant shrinkage in cases over the last week. All good signs to be sure, but let's not forget that we are still well above the levels we were at between February and mid-August this year, as well as all of 2020 through September.

And we are still seeing the damage from September's spike of cases, as over 700 Wisconsinites have died of COVID since the end of July, and we have seen 8 straight weeks of 65 deaths or more.

We also know that vaccinations among Wisconsinites above 12 years of age have hit their 2021 lows, and given the large increase in children that have been afflicted with COVID since the start of school, it would be very helpful to see children ages 5-11 be able to get vaccinated next month, so we can continue to tamp down on the virus as Winter comes in.

So it's far from the optimism that we were seeing in May, June and July, when vaccinations were up and COVID cases got under 100 a day in Wisconsin. But it is an improvement from where we were a couple of weeks ago, and if more places start to go in the direction of Dane County's trend in October and November, we can start to clear up more space in our health care system to treat people for sicknesses and injuries that aren't so avoidable.

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