As Wisconsin battles coronavirus, a political war over data — 4/22/20

A roundup of top news and information about Wisconsin’s response to the coronavirus

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Wisconsin residents could easily feel overwhelmed by the clutter of conflicting information about COVID-19, particularly as Democratic Gov. Tony Evers seeks to defend his Safer at Home order against Republican attacks that it goes too far. 

Today we highlight a story by reporter Howard Hardee, written for Wisconsin Watch, investigating how some advocacy groups are omitting key context about COVID-19 projections in efforts to persuade the public to their side.

Top stories 

Kimberly Shine / CBS58

Hundreds gather Saturday, April 18 in Brookfield, Wis., to protest Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order.

‘Trying to muddy the waters’: Opponents misuse stats in attack on Wisconsin virus lockdown, experts sayWisconsin Watch 

Inside the conservative networks backing anti-quarantine protestsWashington Post

JBS plant in Green Bay linked to 147 coronavirus cases as meatpacking outbreaks continue to spreadGreen Bay Press-Gazette

Survey: 35% of Wisconsin businesses could close permanently if shutdown continues for 3 monthsWisconsin State Journal 

Two weeks after election, COVID-19 cases have not spiked in Wisconsin but experts urge caution about conclusionsMilwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Wisconsin businesses received inconsistent messages about whether they were essential. Now, some are rejecting Evers’ orderUSA Today Network-Wisconsin

In the midst of uncertainty, coronavirus stimulus payments hit Wisconsinites’ bank accountsWPR

What are we missing? And how are you coping? Help us provide critical information and accountability by filling out this form or emailing us at

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Government updates

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Gov. Tony Evers’ office

U.S. Centers and Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization 

Live updates 

Live coverage from USA Today-Wisconsin reporters 

Live coverage from Wisconsin State Journal reporters


“We need recognition and empathy for those who are struggling during this. I believe this will pass, and we will be stronger for it, but we need more people to push back against the systemic oppression that shaped the inequity that has dragged many of our brothers and sisters down. We need more leaders, and more clarity of vision for a more equitable future.”

Nicolo Onorato, a special education teacher at Ronald Reagan High School in Milwaukee, speaking to Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.

Data to note

Despite pockets of unrest and legal battles over stay-at-home orders in Wisconsin and elsewhere, the vast majority of Americans back the restrictions, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey released Wednesday. The survey estimated that 61% of Americans considered government steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 “about right,” 26% believe the limits “don’t go far enough” while just 12% of respondents said they went “too far.”  

The survey of 1,057 U.S. adults carried a margin of error of plus or minus 4 points. 

Resilient Wisconsin

People helping others and showing resilience during this time of anxiety. Send suggestions by tagging us on social media — @wisconsinwatch — or emailing us:

These Wisconsin residents with disabilities hope the pandemic shows people that accommodations are possibleAppleton Post-Crescent 

Offering another helping handKenosha News 

A Wisconsin creamery is providing free milk using a ‘kindness cooler’CNN

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