Pandemic Politics Threatens Lives And Economy
The data for Wisconsin is worrisome. The politics is puzzling.
The figure below plots the average number of COVID-19 cases (in blue) and deaths (in red) per day since the pandemic first hit Wisconsin. To reduce some of the data’s noisiness, all values were calculated by averaging the data over seven days.
Wisconsin cases peaked at 7,000 per day in mid-November of last year, exceeded only by North and South Dakota. About two weeks later, in early December, the number of deaths peaked at almost 70 per day.
The data consistently show that about 1% of the people diagnosed with COVID-19 succumb to it, typically two to three weeks after the diagnosis.
Factors behind this decline likely reflected more social distancing, the wearing of masks, and the availability of vaccines for anyone of wanted one. Unfortunately, this good news was not to last. In early July, cases started to rise, followed by increased deaths. Judged by the numbers, the case load at the beginning of September this year has already reached the level of the end of September last year.
The next graph plots the daily growth rate of cases over the months of July and August 2021, defined as the ratio of cases in one day to that of the previous day. Values over one show increasing cases; those below one show a decline in the number of new cases.
The good news is that average daily growth in August 2021–1.024 or 2.4%–was lower than the July 2021 average–1.088 or 8.8%. The bad news is that growth was still positive, in part reflecting the spread of the much more transferable Delta virus.
The next graph shows the number of Wisconsin cases in July and August of 2021. The blue line shows the actual number of cases. The red line shows the predicted number of cases using the average August growth.
If allowed to continue through the end of the year, the number of cases would grow from the current 2,000 to 38,000!
Like other northern states, Wisconsin is particularly vulnerable to the upcoming change in weather. As the temperature goes down, moving activities outdoors becomes much less feasible. Thus, Wisconsin may be facing a choice between mitigating the virus and shutting down the state’s economy.
We may be seeing the early stages of this shutdown. The next chart shows the monthly change in US jobs through August. The substantial decrease in August jobs added compared to July has been met with widespread disappointment
It turns out that much of the weakness was concentrated in a few categories that are particularly vulnerable to the resurgence of COVID-19. This includes eating and drinking establishments, restaurants and bars. As the next chart shows, July hiring by these businesses was down compared to June.
State jobs data are not yet available for August. However, the US figures suggest what to expect. Rather than growing, jobs in restaurants and taverns showed a small decline.
The spread of the virus in Wisconsin is bad for both the health and life expectancy of Wisconsin people of all ages. It is also bad for business.
It is surprising and disappointing that Wisconsin’s Legislature and political pressure groups, like those in other states, are afflicted by a pro-covid caucus that opposes any measures to reduce the impact of the disease. This includes opposition to wearing masks and the spreading of lies aimed at discouraging vaccinations. We have reached a remarkable point in America, where promoting sickness and death is considered winning in politics. Unless that changes, the data will continue to get worse.
- Wisconsin Supreme Court To Take Up Case On Ivermectin - Erik Gunn - Oct 1st, 2022
- City of Milwaukee Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Sep 30th, 2022
- MKE County: County Drops Mask Rules for Courthouse, Buses - Graham Kilmer - Sep 30th, 2022
- MKE County: Milwaukee At Low Level of COVID-19 - Graham Kilmer - Sep 29th, 2022
- Federally Funded COVID-19 Vaccines Will End. What’s Next? - Graham Kilmer - Sep 27th, 2022
- Stay Healthy this Fall: COVID-19 At-Home Tests and Booster Shots Still Available with No Out-of-Pocket Cost - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Sep 26th, 2022
- Supervisor Coggs-Jones Applauds Expanded Access to Free COVID-19 Self-Tests - Sup. Priscilla E Coggs-Jones - Sep 12th, 2022
- City of Milwaukee Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Sep 9th, 2022
- Milwaukee Health Department Begins Administration of Updated COVID-19 Booster Vaccine to Target Omicron Subvariant - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Sep 9th, 2022
- DHS Encourages Wisconsinites to Make a Plan to Get Boosted Against COVID-19 this Fall - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Sep 7th, 2022
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