Doctors say COVID-19 case counts in Wisconsin will get worse before improving
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The 27 newly reported deaths Wednesday by the state’s health department set a record for the highest so far. The Wisconsin Department of Health says as we see an uptick in cases, we can expect more deaths.
Doctors say COVID-19 is a regional rolling pandemic that affects all regions of the country so this was bound to happen in Wisconsin, but it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
“I think we would expect to continue to see a rise for the next few weeks at least until we reach a peak and then it’ll start to come down,” said Dr. Nasia Safdar, an infectious disease physician at UW Health.
A report by the White House Coronavirus Task force obtained by CNN says the state is in the “red zone,” with the third highest case rate in the country per 100-thousand people.
“The rates are high now and the higher it is, the faster it spreads,” said Dr. Laura Cassidy, an epidemiologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “Honestly I’m not sure any of us know what a peak would look like, and I don’t think we’d want to know.”
Even with a state average of more than 2,300 cases a day the past week, President Donald Trump has scheduled back-to-back outdoor rallies in Green Bay and La Crosse. Both cities are considered “red zone” cities in the report.
“We've had no negative affect. We have 35 to 40,000 people at these rallies,” said President Trump during Tuesday’s debate.
On Tuesday, Governor Tony Evers says the president has two choices, either don’t come or insist everyone mask up.
“Those are the two things he could do to make sure that it doesn’t become a super spreader event,” said Gov. Evers.
Doctors say it’s not the right time for a rally, especially when people are now feeling COVID-19 fatigue with safety measures, which is a contributor in the high case numbers.
“Think about, you know, the essential or non-essential nature of gatherings,” adds Dr. Safdar. “I’m not really able to come up with a scenario in which this is a good idea at a time like this.”
“We want to get back to normal but the minute we let our guard down and we don’t practice safe behaviors it could spread pretty quickly,” says Dr. Cassidy.
On top of washing your hands, masking up and physical distancing, doctors say equally as important is keeping the circle of people you see fairly small.
“I don’t think that is happening the way that it did earlier on when there was much more I think concern about that and people were really changing behavior dramatically,” said Dr. Safdar.
Some Wisconsin doctors plan to call on President Trump on Thursday to cancel his weekend rallies in fear they would be super spreader events.