Monday, April 18, 2022

Wisconsin COVID cases have a Springtime rise, but severe cases keep falling

On a day when a 35-year-old Trump-appointed hack judge struck down federal mask requirements on airplanes and other public transportation, Wisconsin and many other states are seeing rises in COVID cases.

If you look at new COVID cases officially reported to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, that number has more than doubled in the last month, from a 7-day average of 316 up to 672. Concerning to be sure, but it also could reflect Spring Break and Easter Season travel. We also had an increase and a similar amount of cases this time last year, and 2021’s caseload quickly fell in the following weeks as more vaccinations happened and weather warmed in Wisconsin.

Let’s hope we see cases decline again as April fades into May in the next couple of weeks. If cases are still over 600 or going higher, then we have something to worry about, but as of today, I don’t see a need to drastically change our daily habits because of the recent trend of rising cases (although it seems to be a good time to increase our awareness of daily risk).

DHS also finally was able to update their information that compares the COVID situation among those who are/are not vaccinated. Interestingly, we’ve seen a closing of the gap in new cases between Wisconsinites who have gotten the shot and those who are not (although cases among all populations are down vs the start of the year), but it’s still quite a bit more likely that you will have a severe and potentially fatal case of COVID if you haven’t been vaxxed.

Deaths also continue to decline in the state, as there hasn't been a day with more than 5 deaths in the last month, and over the last couple of weeks, we haven't seen death rates this low since before the Delta variant emerged last Summer.

So it appears the combination of vaccinations and newer variants is turning COVID into something that is an annoyance more than a life-threatening situation for many more people. You still wouldn't want to get it, but it also might not be something that causes you to adjust your plans and spending habits, which means its economic impact in Wisconsin would be little to nothing...other than the damage that it's already done, of course.

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