Story at a glance
- Wisconsin is seeing near exponential growth of coronavirus cases, primarily among young adults.
- Many states in the Midwest are seeing similar outbreaks.
Facing a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) declared a new public health emergency on Tuesday as cases grow among young people. This order mandates face coverings again and is set to expire in 60 days.
Wisconsin, along with other states in the Midwest, is experiencing a sharp uptick across multiple counties, per a New York Times analysis. The state saw a record-high number of daily confirmed cases on Sept. 18, reporting 2,533 infections. This brings the state total to 104,170 as of Wednesday.
“We continue to learn more about this virus, but what we do know is that we are facing a new and dangerous phase of the COVID-19 pandemic here in Wisconsin,” Evers said in a prepared statement. “We are seeing an alarming increase in cases across our state, especially on campus. We need folks to start taking this seriously, and young people especially—please stay home as much as you are able, skip heading to the bars, and wear a mask whenever you go out. We need your help to stop the spread of this virus, and we all have to do this together.”
The state department of health specifically reports a 2.6-fold increase in cases over the past three weeks, primarily among young people in the age group from 18 to 24.
The jump has been caused by in-person social gatherings.
As chillier fall temperatures and the winter season approach, the risk of duel outbreaks of influenza and COVID-19 could have disastrous effects on Wisconsin’s populations and health care apparatus.
“We need to remember that most respiratory viruses see their peak activity in Wisconsin between late fall and early spring,” Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s Chief Medical Officer and the State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases, said in the press release. “We need to do everything we can now to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prepare for the winter. That is why we need to continue wearing masks and practicing physical distancing.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. hit the 200,000 death toll resulting from COVID-19 infections. The U.S. as a whole is nearing 6.9 million confirmed infections.