Young and otherwise healthy still face COVID-19 risk — 11/30/20

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

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Today we highlight a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story about a “dangerous fiction” spreading during the COVID-19 pandemic — that the disease harms only the elderly or people with severe pre-existing illnesses. 

That false idea is harming efforts in Wisconsin and the U.S. to control the virus, Mark Johnson reports.

“When the young and healthy underestimate the danger, it provides new opportunities for the virus to spread, especially at a time when many Americans have grown weary from months of wearing masks, canceling birthday parties and downsizing weddings and funerals,” Johnson reports. “The result has been all-too-predictable: reckless behavior and skyrocketing cases, with Wisconsin ranking among the highest rates of COVID cases in the nation.”

As of Nov. 24, Froedtert Hospitals in Wauwatosa, West Bend and Menomonee Falls  had hospitalized 387 patients younger than 40 years old, Johnson reports. And 186 patients were younger than 30.

Underscoring Johnson’s report, Madison East High School on Sunday announced that Isai Morocho, an 11th grader at the school, died last week after “a brief, COVID-related illness.”

Top Stories


Madison East High School.

The young die as well from COVID-19, even as many engage in denial — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Madison East High School student dies of COVID-19-related illness, principal says — Wisconsin State Journal 

Meet just a fraction of the people Wisconsin lost to COVID in a single week — dancers, woodworkers, fathers and sisters — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Between pandemic, evictions and dropping temperatures, homeless shelters anticipate a tough winter — WPR 

Inside a hospital as the coronavirus surges: Where will all the patients go? — The Washington Post 

Pocan, Vos team up on bipartisan ad to reduce spread of COVID-19 — Wisconsin State Journal 

Moratorium on evictions is not ironclad, as hundreds of Milwaukee County tenants getting booted have found out — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

‘Child care is a workforce development issue’: How Wisconsin companies are meeting child care needs to retain workers — Appleton Post Crescent 

Wausau cardiologist: America’s obesity epidemic is worsening COVID-19 pandemic — Wausau Daily Herald

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From the present:

“We may see a surge upon a surge. We don’t want to frighten people, but that’s just the reality. We said that these things would happen as we got into the cold weather and as we began traveling, and they’ve happened.”

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, an infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaking to ABC’s This Week.

From the past:

“The only way in which the increase can be accounted for is it was during the holidays and it is a time when people seem determined to get together regardless of consequences … Our people must remember that the influenza is still a great menace to our community.”

Wausau Pilot, Jan. 7, 1919, in a story documenting an increase in influenza infections as Wisconsin fought the influenza pandemic

Data to note

WisContext offers these visualizations of Wisconsin COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

Calculate your exposure risk

In Wisconsin, even small gatherings can carry a big risk of exposure to the coronavirus, according to a nationwide tool that estimates the danger by the size of gathering and county in which it is held. Data scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Stanford University developed the tool, which you can find here.

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:

Research inspired by COVID-19: Dipo Oyeleye examines African music as pandemic response — Cap Times 

Research inspired by COVID-19: Luis Columna brings exercise to children with autism virtually — Cap Times

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