Top health care professionals to Wisconsin leaders: time to shut down, start over and do it right
With COVID-19 spiking in Wisconsin, experts ask the state leaders to prioritize public health
MADISON — Amid uncontrolled spread of the novel coronavirus in Wisconsin, WISPIRG and top health experts delivered a letter Thursday to Gov. Tony Evers, State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, and State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, calling on the state leaders to shut back down, start over with new policies to thwart COVID-19, and to do it right. The letter calls for implementing stay at home restrictions to slow the virus, while increasing testing capacity and production of personal protective equipment.
The more than 150 signers of the letter include Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD-University of Pennsylvania, William Hanage, PhD-Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Seth Trueger, MD, MPH-Northwestern University, Megan Ranney, MD, MPH-Brown University & GetUsPPE, and Saskia Popescu, PhD, MPH, MA, CIC-University of Arizona.
WISPIRG’s national partner, U.S. PIRG, delivered the letter to leadership in Congress and the Trump Administration as well.
More than 117,000 Americans had died of COVID-19 by mid-June. If the U.S. response had been as effective as Germany’s, estimates show that America would have had only 36,000 COVID-19 deaths in that period. If the U.S.’s response had been as effective as South Korea, Australia or Singapore’s, fewer than 2,000 Americans would have died.
Wisconsin reopened non-essential businesses and loosened shelter-in-place orders too quickly and did so without meeting key criteria that health experts laid out to reopen safely. Those criteria include:
- Enough daily testing capacity to test everyone with flu-like symptoms plus anyone they have been in close contact with over the last two weeks (at least 10 additional tests per symptomatic person). Currently, the United States has only 35 percent of the testing capacity it needs to meet that threshold. Wisconsin is not meeting the criteria.
- A workforce of contact tracers large enough to trace all current cases. According to an NPR survey, as of last month most states, including Wisconsin, are far short of the number of contact tracers they need.
- More personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep essential workers such as health professionals, emergency responders and grocery store clerks safe.
We expect our leaders to lead in these deeply troubling times, the letter explained.
“Tell the American people the truth about the virus, even when it’s hard,” the letter demands of our elected officials. “Take bold action to save lives — even when it means shutting down again.”
- UW System Vaccination Rates Vary Widely - Rich Kremer - Sep 18th, 2021
- MKE County: COVID-19 Cases Still High in Milwaukee County - Graham Kilmer - Sep 17th, 2021
- Milwaukee Health Department excusing inaction with insufficient data, right-wing talking points - Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association - Sep 16th, 2021
- Gov. Evers Delivers Radio Address on New Investments to Support Local COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Recovery - Gov. Tony Evers - Sep 16th, 2021
- UWM reaches 70% vaccination rate goal, pushes for more - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee - Sep 16th, 2021
- Data Wonk: Biden Vaccine Plan Helps GOP Governors - Bruce Thompson - Sep 15th, 2021
- Gov. Evers, DHS Remind Wisconsinites to Get Vaccinated to Get $100 - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Sep 15th, 2021
- American Family Field COVID-19 Testing Site Closing - Jeramey Jannene - Sep 14th, 2021
- For Ron Johnson, Prolonging the Pandemic is Just Another Day at the Office - Democratic Party of Wisconsin - Sep 14th, 2021
- Nursing Home Workers Resist Vaccines - Madeline Fuerstenberg - Sep 13th, 2021
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With COVID-19 surging, state leaders should shut down, start over and do it right