Thursday, November 12, 2020

WI's COVID realities reflect GOP leaders' malign neglect

[11/13 update, 1:30 a.m.The latest NY Times COVID19 data for Wisconsin shows more than 8,200 new COVID19 cases were reported in the last 24 hours. That's more than 340 new cases per hour, or just under six new cases every minute. These numbers have been spiking for days and weeks. We're not flattening any curve here; COVID is flattening Wisconsin and a lot of our fellow citizens are not going to be here for the holidays. Will this finally bring the inert Legislature to their senses and into session to do something?

Additional 11/13 note: An earlier version of this post misidentified Fitzgerald's home county as Juneau. It is Dodge. 


I thought it was time for a deeper look at what inert GOP Legislative leaders are not moved by on their own home turf.

Now I can't say for sure if Scott Fitzgerald from Dodge County or Wisconsin GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos from Racine County read the grim pandemic tracking numbers about their counties and the State of Wisconsin which are available online for free in The New York Times.

The most recent Times' report for Wisconsin shows Dodge County with the 10th highest COVID19 positive case rate among all 72 Wisconsin counties, while Racine County ranks 19th, but ahead of other counties with large populations, including Milwaukee, Dane, Waukesha, Brown, and Kenosha.

But even if these state legislative leaders don't care to read the Times while remaining in their recess since April 15th as the pandemic took off and took hold ...and who never came forward with a COVID-control plan as pledged months ago...and who have fought Gov. Evers' virus prevention plans since they convinced the State Supreme Court in May to terminate an Evers 'Safer at Home' order extension:

Much of this COVId-coddling history is covered here and here.

I tried to put the pandemic's attack on Wisconsin and the GOP leaders' intentional and partisan inertia into a frame on Thursday which Wisconsinites like Fitzgerald and Vos can easily grasp:

In days, WI's COVID tally will exceed capacity of four Lambeau Fields

By early next week at the latest, Wisconsin's rampaging coronavirus epidemic which has broken the 300,000 case mark will surpass the seating capacities of four Lambeau Fields at 81,441 seats each. 

And will soon more than triple all the 105,413 people who live in Green Bay, having already blown past the total number of Brown County's 264,000 residents some days ago...

Here's another way to assess how severely COVID19 has hit Wisconsin: 

Since mid-March, the pandemic has killed 2,626 people here, data show

That is 19 times the 136 people killed in alcohol-related vehicle crashes in all of 2019 statewide, data show - and 136 is five less that the Wisconsin COVID death toll of 141 people who died just on November 10th and 11th earlier this week combined. 

In fact, The New York Times tracking data shows COVID is now infecting 340 people in Wisconsin every hour here - 


which is why hospitals are running out of beds, protective equipment and staff.

But while these bigger picture realities and staggering numbers have not grabbed Fitzgerald and Vos's attention, I am betting that they have read or have been briefed about what local health officials and media in Racine are publicly disclosing.

So while Fitzgerald and Vos may have missed Thursday's New York Times' spotlight on Wisconsin as the state where COVID is now spreading the "fastest," let's look at some some of the already available public information which has not spurred them into action though the alarms are ringing loudly and flashing red in their own backyards:

* From the Racine Journal Times, June 4th, 2020

Racine County’s fast-rising per capita rate of COVID-19 infections now stands at 940.6 per 100,000 residents, up from 919.7 on Wednesday, as the highest rate in the state according to Thursday data from the Wisconsin Department of Health.

* From the Racine Journal Times, on October 26, 2020: nearly five months later

For the second week in a row, Racine County has set a record for its highest rate of positive coronavirus tests. A record in total new confirmed cases, with 752 tests coming back positive, was also set.

From Oct. 20-26, 21.35% tests completed in the county came back positive; the result of 752 tests out of 3,522 coming back positive.

And in today's Racine Journal Times: 

Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services has created a new “critically high” coronavirus activity level for counties that have at least one active COVID-19 case for every 100 residents. 
Racine County is one of 65 counties that fit the designation, as of Wednesday evening, with  
Bottom line: If Wisconsin's ideologically-bound-up GOP Legislative leaders who are still in recess aren't practicing overt political malign neglect when public health officials are using the terms like "crisis" and "highest rate" and "set a record" and "critically high" to describe an accelerating pandemic, then I don't know what to call it - other than harmful, incomprehensible and reprehensible. 

11/13 note: An earlier version of this post misidentified Fitzgerald's home county as Juneau. It is Dodge. 

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