This State Has Become the "Poster Child" for How Not to Handle COVID
The coronavirus outbreak here is far from being contained.
Hotspot states around the country have changed throughout the course of the pandemic. In April, for instance, the Northeast was bearing the brunt of the virus. Then in July, the surge entered the South. Now, one state in particular is getting called out for its troubling coronavirus statistics. According to one expert, Wisconsin has become the "poster child" for how not to handle COVID. Read on to find out why, and to see what the pandemic looks like where you are, Here's How Fast COVID Is Spreading in Your State.
"Wisconsin has become the poster child for how things can go wrong," Barry Burden, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told NBC News on Oct. 7.
This new hotspot state has seen an explosion of new cases in recent weeks. Wisconsin rarely surpassed 1,000 new cases in one day during August and early September. Now in October, the state is seeing more than 2,000 new cases almost every day—reaching a new daily high for COVID cases on Oct. 3 with 3,022 new cases in one day, according to The New York Times.
NBC News reports that Wisconsin has had more than 33,400 new infections in the last two weeks, making the state's coronavirus cases jump by 50 percent—which is more than any other state besides Texas and California.
The situation has gotten so extreme in Wisconsin that Gov. Tony Evers gave the order to activate a 530-bed field hospital on Oct. 7. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, only 16 percent of the state's hospital beds are currently still available for use. And more than 870 people are currently being hospitalized for the coronavirus in the state.
"We hoped this day wouldn't come, but unfortunately, Wisconsin is in a much different, more dire place today and our healthcare systems are beginning to become overwhelmed by the surge of COVID-19 cases," Evers said in a statement.
But what is causing Wisconsin's sudden explosion? According to Burden, much of it has to do with the political infighting occurring in the state. Evers, a Democratic governor, has been facing challenges in court by Republican legislative leaders on his attempts at mandating coronavirus precautions.
"Much of the problem stems from the terrible relationship between Evers and the Republican legislative leaders," Burden explained.
In May, the state Supreme Court revoked Evers' stay-at-home order. And just last week, the state's top Republicans filed a motion backing a lawsuit against Evers' statewide mask order. Evers said he also suspects that one of his recent orders limiting public indoor gatherings will be challenged, as well.
"If it is consistent with the past, then I guess we would expect to have a challenge in the court," Evers said about his order limiting gatherings. "We believe we can overcome that challenge just like we believe we can overcome the challenges on the present mask order." In the meantime, however, Wisconsin's numbers continue to surge astronomically. And for more states with loose coronavirus restrictions, These States Are Doing the Least to Protect Against COVID Right Now.