Monday, April 25, 2022

COVID cases in Wisconsin back in 4 figures

Wisconsin is now back at a notorious level of COVID infections.
The seven-day rolling average for new, confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin topped one thousand over the weekend for the first time in two months, the latest Dept. of Health Services figures show.

On Monday, its dashboard showed that key metric hitting 1,071 cases per day over the previous week. That’s a 63% jump from last Monday. It’s also three times higher than the 321 cases per day reported less than a month ago, on March 27.
Argle bargle. No, it's not close to the 18,000+ cases per day that we were seeing in mid-January, but you never want to see viral infections going up like that. And if you go to the wastewater monitoring page from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (which has become a decent leading/current indicator of how prevalent COVID is), you’ll see several regions bouncing off their lows in March back toward the levels that were being noticed 2 months ago.

The positive is that there has been little change in the amount of COVID-related hospitalizations (slightly up vs 2 weeks ago, but down vs what we had a month ago), and the month of April will likely have the lowest number of COVID deaths since last July.

But we also know that the lag between getting a COVID case and have some of those cases ending up severe is around 3-4 weeks, especially among areas/people that are less likely to be vaccinated. So let’s not think this thing is licked yet. It's not anything worth having shutdowns over, but the rise in cases might make some consider masking up again in closed, high-traffic areas more than they have been, and the Milwaukee and Whitefish Bay school districts have recently reinstated their mask requirements (Madison schools never got rid of theirs).

Some of this is also likely seasonal, as the last 2 months haven’t had many days where outside gatherings was considered a worthwhile venture. But it also tells us COVID is not eliminated, and I don’t think it is coincidental that the state and the country is seeing a rise in cases of this illness and others as mask requirements went away in many places and travel largely restored to its pre-COVID levels. However, I would also argue that the chances of severe illness from COVID have been getting diminished in recent months, largely because of vaccination, but also because this strain may not be as brutal as the Alpha or Delta variants that caused so many health complications.

Not great, and another week of crappy weather with sub-average temperatures in these parts isn’t going to offer much relief. So it might be a good idea to keep your risk assessments in mind, and boost up if you haven’t been able to do so already.

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