Thursday, December 23, 2021

COVID now hitting all corners of the state in Christmas week. Be smart and boosted, folks

As you'd imagine, the state's COVID numbers aren't going well as the omnicron variant makes its way into Wisconsin. And the cancellation of this week's Badger men's and women's basketball games underscores that new cases numbers have evened out throughout the state, instead of being confined to less-vaccinated parts of Wisconsin.

Not only is the statewide rate at the "extremely high" level (where 1 out of 100 Wisconsin reported a positive COVID-19 test over the previous two weeks) for the first time since the first few weeks of the year, but you can see that the northern tier is starting to see reported cases fall out of the "red zone" while larger-populated areas further south are seeing cases go up.

But the earlier spike in COVID cases that hit in the lesser-vaccinated areas of the state in October and November is now manifesting itself in higher death totals as 2021 ends, with more than 20 deaths a day being reported.

Dane County also offered the latest update of its COVID numbers today, which is worthwhile to look into as more than half of County residents have gotten their booster, and because the Dane County Department of Public Health offers a breakdown of case rates for the vaccinated, unvaccinated, and boosted. And while the gap between these groups has tightened from last week's totals, all 3 still have notable differences.

The death and hospitalization totals are going to be what to look for in a couple of weeks, to see if the combination of the omnicron variant and higher levels of vaccinations lead to lower levels of COVID-related severe illness. But that's little consolation for us today as COVID overhangs our state and country during the week of Christmas, with new cases staying at or above an average of 3,500 a day. Stay smart if you're meeting with family and friends this weekend, and the boosters do seem to help so far. So do your part, if you can.

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