Examining Wisconsin’s economy six months into the pandemic — 9/21/20

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

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Today we highlight a data-driven story by the Green Bay Press-Gazette. 

Six months after the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered Wisconsin businesses and started walloping its economy, reporter Nusaiba Mizan examines the pace of recovery on five fronts: postings on the state’s job portal, manufacturing sector growth, the slowly recovering leisure and hospitality sector, the uncertain real estate market and the state’s persistent but shrinking backlog of unemployment claims. 

Of course, the pandemic is far from over. Daily coronavirus case counts in Wisconsin are surging, particularly where college and university students are returning to campus

The Department of Health Services on Monday reported 1,271 news cases, adding to the state’s total of 102,498 during the pandemic. DHS labels 86,822 of those cases (85%) as “recovered.”  

DHS reported 1,244 total COVID-19 deaths as of Monday.

Top Stories

Angela Major / WPR

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s headquarters in Madison, as shown in this Sept. 2, 2020 file photo.

From jobs to housing, the coronavirus pandemic has transformed Wisconsin’s economy  — Green Bay Press-Gazette 

Hospitalized with COVID-19, a Wisconsin teacher planned to keep teaching on Zoom. Five days later she died.  — USA Today Network-Wisconsin 

Wisconsin’s mask mandate mostly ignored at Republican events  — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Lost Wage Assistance program In Wisconsin: your questions, answered  — WPR 

No fans allowed in Lambeau Field and not that many outside the historic stadium either  — Wisconsin State Journal 

UW-River Falls moves classes online, has students shelter in place after spike in COVID-19 cases  — WPR 

Q&A: Maxine McKinney de Royston says virtual instruction is a chance to reimagine education   — Cap Times 

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 tips@wisconsinwatchmediapartners.wpcomstaging.com.

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“It’s the first time in my adult life I won’t be in a league. I feel somewhat sad because I and my team chose not to bowl. I like bowling, but I don’t want to die for it.”

— Joe Strazishar, 70, speaking to the Green Bay Press-Gazette

“Today, as our state surpasses the 100,000-case mark, we find ourselves in the midst of an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases fueled largely by the University System’s decision to return to in-person classes. This decision has greatly impacted our community and others, and has now catapulted Wisconsin into the top three states in the nation for increases in the rate of infection.”

— Dane County Executive Joe Parisi in a press release Sunday 

Food access trouble?

We know that when classes are virtual, many Wisconsin students and families lose access to food schools provide. And as the school year starts, some meal sites are closing. Share your experience with News414, Wisconsin Watch’s service journalism collaboration with Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Outlier Media. Click here for details.

Data to note

Here are the latest statewide visualizations of COVID-19 cases and deaths from our partners at WisContext.

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: tips@wisconsinwatchmediapartners.wpcomstaging.com.

‘It’s been nuts’: McFarland family makes, sells iPad stands to help with virtual learning  — Cap Times 

Milwaukee church, community groups give away essential items to help in pandemic  — WTMJ-TV

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