As COVID19 cases have raced past 10 million nationally since late January, let's take a look at how the disease has been enabled in consistently gruesome Wisconsin, using a NY Times daily data update:
My top 10 list, below, is not a complete list, so feel free to add others:
* 1. GOP State Sen. Steve Nass said on October 14th without evidence that Gov. Evers had opened the COVID19 overflow hospital at State Fair Park for "political" reasons.
The hospital admitted its first patient on October 20, the current patient count is 7 and was as high as 13 on November 2nd, state data and patient mail census show.
And data compiled daily by The New York Times from official sources show hospitalizations for COVID19 statewide have exploded from 1,017 on October 14 to 1,860 on Nov. 8th.
Maybe Nass meant to say 'medical?'
* 2. GOP State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said on August 3rd there was no need for a statewide masking order to control the pandemic.
“I think things are going well right now. People are complying if they want to.”
Official state data show reported COVID19 cases in Wisconsin have increased from August 3rd - the date of Fitzgerald remark - from 55,328 cases to 267,410 by November 8th, and in the same period, deaths from COVID19 have increased from 949 to 2,312.
Things are going well...for Fitzgerald. He won a Congressional seat on November 3rd.
* 3 and 4. And speaking of Wisconsin State Senators sharing their analyses of the pandemic, let's get on the record again Racine's Van Wanggaard's opposition to a masking order even if COVID19 cases were to multiply ten-fold.
I'd remarked on his comment several times, and as recently as Sunday, and I included in the posting a separate, COVID-coddling remark by GOP State Senator Alberta Darling, (River Hills):
* And let's not forget GOP State Senator and big thinker Van Wanggaard, (Racine). He's the one who said on October 8th that COVID-19 cases could increase by a factor of ten and he would still fight any statewide masking order.
The NY Times chart showed 3,237 new cases on October 8th - which is a big number on what should be called Van Wanggaard Covidometer Day - but, alas is less than half of Saturday's 7,494.
Nonetheless, the trends are all in Van Wangaard's favor, so we might just get there yet.
In fact, looking backwards, the chart shows that Wisconsin had reported 338 new cases on June 23rd, so we'd have already managed the Van Wanggaardian ten-fold new-case increase on a daily basis a mere 14 weeks before he threw down his 10X marker.
So, is 30,000+daily cases out of range.
I sure hope so, but if Vos, Van Wanggard & other GOP leaders like State Senator and recess-enjoying Alberta ('we don't need to come in') Darling don't get back to work for the people and public health - with a purpose - we might soon be looking back at Saturday's 7,494 tally as the pandemic's previous welcome pause.
* 5. There was recent reporting about an outbreak of the virus among WI GOP Assembly staffers. GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos declined to be interviewed about it.
Sources told the Journal Sentinel that [Vos chief of staff Jenny] Toftness was one of at least six people who got sick after attending the retirement party and other recent events. Others included GOP lawmakers, staffers and at least two lobbyists, the sources said. Vos declined to be interviewed.
* 6. Vos has been more talkative about COVID19, which might explain why he chose the protection of a no-comment than expose himself to further viral condemnation.
Speaking of protection, you may remember VOS's pronouncement that it was "incredibly safe" to go outside while dressed head-to-toe in medical-grade personal protective equipment.
On the secret recording of a phone call last month with Gov. Tony Evers, Vos blamed high numbers of COVID-19 cases in Racine on immigrants.
* 8-9 In fairness to Vos, he might have been influenced by GOP-friendly Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Patience Roggensack, who said on May 6th from the safety of Zoomed deliberations that non-immigrant "regular folks" in Brown County's Green Bay seemed to be escaping the virus.
On May 6th, when Roggensack was feeling pretty good about those "regular folks," Brown County had reported 2,005 cases of COVID19, state data show, and by last Saturday, November 7th, the number had ballooned to 17,951.
The state does not compile COVID19 case data by 'regular' or 'irregular' citizen status, though minorities in Wisconsin are being hit disproportionately harder, state data indicate.
Furthermore, experts have linked the disease spread to socio-economic status and other disadvantages, and the federal government even in the do-nothing-for-workers-Trump era eventually fined a Brown County meatpacking plant where unsafe working conditions lead to a COVID19 outbreak that sickened 348 human beings.
Roggensack wrote the court's 4-3 majority opinion a week later that killed Gov. Evers 'Safer-at-Home' COVID19 control order.
Joining the majority was Associate Justice Rebecca Bradley, who called the Governor's 'Safer-at-Home' order "the very definition of tyranny" and compared it to the forced removal from their homes and internment for years by the US Military of hundreds of thousands of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
The case had been brought by Fitzgerald and Vos.
* 10 An entire news release issued at public expense by GOP State Rep, Cory Horlacher, (Mukwonago), titled "Dictator Evers' Mask Decree.'
Wearing a mask is a personal choice. It is simply not the government’s role to tell you to wear a piece of fabric.
Businesses that wish to require masks at their establishments are free do to so on their private property.
Furthermore, there is no empirical evidence that cloth masks, which are what the majority of people are wearing, are actually having a positive impact.
Coincidentally, the Centers for Disease Control had this to say about the benefits of public use of cloth masks a few days prior to Horlcher's broadside: