Public health experts weigh in as police protests intersect with pandemic— 6/2/20

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

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Nationwide mass gatherings following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis are stirring concerns that the spread of COVID-19 will accelerate, but a host of public health experts and groups say that the issue being protested — systemic racism and police brutality against people of color — is also damaging to public health.

Today we highlight a story by Madeline Heim, a former Wisconsin Watch intern who now reports for the Appleton Post Crescent. 

“There have been no statewide limits on large gatherings since Gov. Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order ended May 13, though experts still recommend social distancing and nearly 3,000 newly confirmed cases have been announced since Memorial Day,” Heim reports. “But the protests will likely continue. So epidemiologists want to give attendees the tools they need to be safe, and pressure leaders and law enforcement to protect the health of those who show up and speak out.”

We also draw your attention to the latest installment of our Outbreak Wisconsin collaboration with WPR. Adija Greer-Smith, an entrepreneur and baker, offers a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to run a small business in Milwaukee during the pandemic.

Top Stories


Protesters during a Black Lives Matter march and rally on Saturday, May 30, 2020, at Houdini Plaza in Appleton, Wis. Protests have been happening across the country this week, after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed Monday by a white Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck while arresting him.

Protests defy coronavirus guidelines, but health experts say engagement is ‘essential.’ Here’s how protesters and police can reduce risk.Appleton Post Crescent 

Introducing Milwaukee entrepreneur and baker Adija Greer-Smith: ‘I’ve poured my life into this business’WPR/Wisconsin Watch 

Wisconsin’s new cases of coronavirus tick back up with more testing, continuing recent trend of ebbs and flowsUSA Today Network — Wisconsin 

Unemployment group demands special session in letter to Assembly Speaker Robin VosWTMJ-TV 

From growing more spiritual to becoming more focused on erasing health inequities: Catching up with two COVID-19 survivorsMilwaukee Neighborhood News Service 

Aurora St. Luke’s team develops faster heart ultrasound procedure for COVID-19 patientsMilwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Summer school to be mostly online In Wisconsin amid COVID-19 concernsWPR

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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


Maimuna Majumder, Faculty at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, via Twitter:

“Racism is a longstanding public health crisis that impacts both mental and physical health. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this crisis and added to the stress in the black community, which is experiencing higher rates of infection and deaths.”

American Nurses Association (ANA) President Ernest J. Grant in a statement

“Police brutality in the midst of public health crises is not crime-preventive—it creates demoralized conditions in an already strained time. It exacerbates psychological harms and has a clear impact on bystanders.”

Dr. Jesse M. Ehrenfeld and Dr. Patrice A. Harris of the American Medical Association in a statement

Data to note

Wisconsin nursing homes have reported at least 413 COVID-19 cases and 72 related deaths among residents, preliminary federal data shows, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“The data, released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, show an additional 265 cases and 3 deaths among nursing home staff,” the newspaper reported.

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:

Mother, daughter graduate togetherBeloit Daily News 

Bar’s blood drive will help more than 100 people, another to be held June 15 Kenosha News 

School nurses deliver meals to students, hope relief bill allows program to continueWTMJ-TV 

Door Posts: They Bring Me HopeDoor County Pulse

From Madison’s Short Stack Eatery 

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