Report illustrates one preexisting condition for COVID-19: America’s racist history — 10/13/20

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

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Today we highlight a USA Today investigation into how the long history of racist policies set up Black, Asian, Hispanic and Indigenous Americans to bear an outsized share of COVID-19 suffering. 

“Of the 10 U.S. counties with the highest death rates from COVID-19, seven have populations where people of color make up the majority, according to data compiled by USA TODAY. Of the top 50 counties with the highest death rates, 31 are populated mostly by people of color,” a team of 10 reporters write in a six-part series. 

Among the causes, they report: long standing housing discrimination that forced people of color into crowded neighborhoods, speeding the spread of coronavirus. “Those neighborhoods tend to lie in ‘food deserts,’ leading to diabetes, obesity and heart disease that make people more likely to die from the virus.” 

Meanwhile, environmental policies “designed by white power brokers at the expense of the poor has poisoned the air they breathe, fueling cancers and leaving communities weakened in the path of the virus.”

Top Stories

John Hart / State Journal

Adhering to protocols put in place due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, members of the UW-Madison marching band wear face coverings and play instruments with bell covers during a limited capacity practice session on the campus in Madison, Wis. Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. JOHN HART, STATE JOURNAL (Published on 9/6/2020) Members of UW-Madison’s Marching Band wear face coverings and play instruments with bell covers during a limited-capacity practice session to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.

‘An unbelievable chain of oppression’: America’s history of racism was a preexisting condition for COVID-19USA Today 

As Wisconsin sets records again for COVID-19 deaths, cases, Gov. Tony Evers calls on GOP leaders to meetWisconsin State Journal 

Wisconsin sees another COVID-19 outbreak in prison systemWisconsin State Journal 

Rise in COVID leads to plasma shortageKenosha News 

Some small businesses say they won’t see much help from Gov. Evers’ $5K grantsWPR 

Marathon County Health Dept. on COVID-19 surge: “We’re not doing a very good job of slowing it”WSAW-TV 

Several Rock County coronavirus data points reach record highsJanesville Gazette 

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“As Congress and the White House work through their negotiations on coronavirus relief, it’s important to acknowledge that our state’s agricultural crisis continues to escalate. Whatever package emerges, the needs of the state’s most vulnerable farms should be front and center.”

— Margaret Krome, policy program director for the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, writing for the Cap Times

“Although you indicated in your April brief to the Wisconsin Supreme Court you were ‘drafting even now’ a plan to respond to this pandemic, no such plan has ever materialized or been offered to me or the people of our state. I ask that you bring to our meeting concrete options supported by science and public health that our administration can take to save lives and keep people safe that you, your caucuses, and your allies will support.”

— Gov. Tony Evers, in a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, requesting a meeting

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.

You can also view a list of Milwaukee-area food distribution sites for students here.

Data to note

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services on Tuesday reported 34 additional deaths linked to COVID-19, shattering the previous daily record of 27. That brings the state’s total to 1,508 confirmed COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic.

The state also set a daily record for new confirmed COVID-19 cases, DHS reported Tuesday: 3,279.

The state’s rate of positive tests continues to spike as the virus keeps spreading.

Here are visualizations of trends in 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:

Carthage College professor discovers ‘an odd blessing’ of COVID-19 theaterKenosha News

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