Researchers project COVID-19 case increase in nearly every WI county through October

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Case numbers are showing no signs of COVID-19 slowing down anywhere in the state, and in fact some researchers have projected case increases in the coming weeks.

Doctors at the COVID PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have been closely studying what's happening here in Wisconsin, and they have forecasted case increases in every county in the state the next four weeks into the beginning of November.

"It's hard to find a state that's struggling more right now," said Dr. David Rubin, director of PolicyLab. 

Dr. David Rubin says the COVID-19 forecast is based on case growths. It's then altered with case positivity trends and social distancing practices in the state.

The predicted growth is something doctors in the state agree with.

"For weeks now we've been sounding the alarm about Wisconsin and some successive weeks of increasing risk is fairly convincing," Dr. Rubin said. 

"I don't disagree," said Dr. Nasia Safdar, medical director for infection prevention at UW Health. "I think that we will likely see the current trajectory continue and the number of cases to rise."

Milwaukee County shows an increase in case rates the next four weeks, according to the PolicyLab charts.

Northern counties like Sheboygan and Outagamie counties also show growth in cases as colder weather sets in.

"That's what's made this different than oh, it's a little up, it's a little down like what we were seeing over the summer," Dr. Rubin said. "We haven't seen this pattern since you know, Florida, Texas and California blew up right after Memorial Day."

"The virus travels where people do, and as long as people are continuing to move and are not limiting their physical mobility we will continue to see this widespread diffusion through the population," said Dr. Safdar.

Last week the state saw more than 3,100 confirmed cases Thursday and nearly 3,000 confirmed cases Friday. On Monday, the state exceeded 152,000 cumulative confirmed cases, doctors say this is not the time to relax on combating spread.

Mask up, wash your hands, distance and avoid gathering in groups indoors.

"You're 18 times more likely to have transmission if the event is happening, or whatever it is you're doing, is indoors compared to outdoors," said Dr. Safdar.

"Those people who think, ah, it's not as bad as people think, are about to be in for a rude awakening," added Dr. Rubin.

Dr. Rubin says it's important how the state reacts, because the rest of the country is watching how Wisconsin responds to see if they can indeed reduce the risk of spread. Monday's decision by a St. Croix County Circuit Judge to uphold the mask mandate by Governor Evers could only help. 


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