Wisconsin marks 2-year anniversary of first Covid-19 case this week

NOW: Wisconsin marks 2-year anniversary of first Covid-19 case this week

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WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- This week will mark two years since the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Wisconsin.

According to UW Health, that case was discovered on Jan. 30, 2020, but wasn't confirmed until a week later on Feb. 5. At that time, tests had to be sent out of the state.

"I don't think any of us anticipated that two years later, we'd still be talking about Covid-19," said Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief information officer at UW Health. "In those early days of the pandemic, we didn't know that it was going to be a pandemic. We knew that there was this novel coronavirus, that's what its name was back then, and that it was in China and that it seemed like it was pretty contagious."

Over the last two years, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services has reported over 1.3-million cases of Covid-19 in the state, with 11,134 Wisconsinites losing their life due to complications with the virus as of Jan. 31, 2022.

Dr. Pothof says while it's important to recognize where we were, it's also important to also realize the steps forward we've made in fighting the spread of the virus.

"Over the last two years, the science of this has really had a front row seat and I think that's good and it's bad," Dr. Pothof said. "When I look at all the advances that we have made over the course of two years, it's pretty incredible. We went from a disease that basically did not exist to having vaccines, having rapid tests; have therapeutics that fight it. That's not normal."

To date, over 250-million Americans and 3.5-million Wisconsinites have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. According to the DHS, over 60 percent of Wisconsinites ages five and older have completed their vaccine series.

According to Ajay Sethi, faculty director for the Master of Public Health Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, the vaccine availability has also brought resistance and misinformation.

"We saw an unprecedented level of misinformation about vaccines and other measures people can use to protect themselves against Covid-19," Sethi said. "2021 showed us how difficult it can be to overcome that challenge."

According to data from the Wisconsin DHS and provided by UW Health, people not fully vaccinated were hospitalized with Covid-19 at a rate 10 times higher than people who were fully vaccinated. People not fully vaccinated died from Covid-19 at a rate 14-times higher than people who were fully vaccinated.

Medical professionals continue to call the vaccine our best tool against the virus and encourage those who have not received a Covid-19 vaccine to do so.

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