Pandemic strains kids’ mental health — 2/2/21

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

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Today we highlight a WPR story about growing concerns surrounding children’s mental health during the pandemic. 

Mental health emergencies among children have soared during the pandemic — with emergency room visits increasing substantially for young people, reports Madeline Fox, citing U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

“It’s harder to quantify mental health disorders that fall below the crisis level, but early research shows COVID-19 is likely exacerbating already climbing rates of youth anxiety and depression,” Fox reports. “At the same time, the net that’s supposed to help catch these students was overburdened even before the pandemic began.”

Top Stories 

Angela Major / WPR

School psychologist Kisten Gillespie

The pandemic is taking a toll on kids’ mental health. School psychologists are worried. WPR 

Wisconsin’s vaccine rollout speed moves up in national ranking; 7.4% of population has received at least first shot Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

The Wisconsin advisory panel that decides who’s next in line for the vaccine will ‘pause’ to wait for Biden’s strategy Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

Republicans pitch Biden on smaller aid plan as Democrats prepare to act alone The New York Times 

‘I don’t know who’s right’: Jobless Wisconsinites say DWD call center giving incorrect, contradictory information WPR 

Rock County officials hope to see more equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines as access expands Janesville Gazette 

Politics impacting health professionals’ message surrounding masks WDJT-Milwaukee 

Does wearing two masks provide more protection? Associated Press 

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“We bounced back big for about three months. But all of the economic indicators have really begun to slow and lag over the last few months of 2020. That’s been a concern as we look forward in terms of how long is this recession going to last.”

— Dale Knapp, director of Forward Analytics, speaking to WPR about a report revealing the scope of Wisconsin’s pandemic-induced recession 

“I find it interesting when our legislators and our senators are talking about how they want schools to open, they want us to be face-to-face as much as possible. And then they bring a bill like this forward that takes away one of the tools that’s really working.”

— Kim Kaukl, director of the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance, one of 54 organizations registering opposition to a GOP bill to end Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency order and mask mandate 

Data to note

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services continues to log fewer daily infections, with cases now at their lowest levels since mid-September, but it still reports a seven-day average 26 new daily deaths.

Public health officials continue to urge Wisconsinites to wear masks and practice physical distancing until vaccinations are more widely distributed. 

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

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:

Plain Talk: Even amid a pandemic, people are giving to those in need Cap Times 

Hunger Task Force’s Mobile Market brings fresh produce to food deserts across Milwaukee County Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service 

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