As Republican lawmakers on Thursday ended Gov. Tony Evers’ emergency order mandating face masks in indoor public spaces and Evers responded with a new order, Wisconsin health officials reported 41 more people had died from COVID-19.
The state’s coronavirus death toll will likely pass 6,000 by Friday.
Daily deaths from COVID-19 have remained high for months, even as cases have fallen from their mid-November peak. Because it takes time for people to fall seriously ill and die from the virus, deaths tend to lag newly reported cases.
About two-thirds of Wisconsin’s coronavirus deaths have occurred within the last three months. The current surge in deaths is a direct result of the surge in cases in the fall, health officials have said.
COVID-19 has been disproportionately deadly for Wisconsin’s oldest and most vulnerable residents. Those 60 and older make up just a fifth of all cases but 92.1% of deaths.
For all those who have tested positive for the virus in Wisconsin, the death rate is 1.1%, state data shows. But for people in their 90s, it is 22%.
The pace of death has accelerated in recent months. On Thursday, Wisconsin’s virus death toll stood at 5,992. On average, about 27 people are dying from COVID-19 each day.
When Wisconsin likely passes 6,000 deaths on Friday, it will have reported 1,000 deaths in just the last 30 days.
It took about five months for the first 1,000 Wisconsin residents to die from COVID-19. By Halloween, the state had reached 2,000 deaths.
Three weeks later, on Nov. 21, Wisconsin hit 3,000 COVID-19 deaths. Another three weeks later on Dec. 12, the state passed 4,000. It took 25 days to reach 5,000.
As health experts warn the new coronavirus variants can spread more quickly and easily, vulnerable people are eager to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect themselves from severe infection.
In Wisconsin, more than a quarter of residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, state data shows. That’s about 243,000 people, or about 27.4% of the age group.
In all, about 659,000 doses have been administered in Wisconsin, and about 130,000 people have received both doses of the two-dose series.
Track COVID-19 in Wisconsin: See the latest data on cases and the vaccine rollout
How to interpret COVID-19 data: What experts say about positive cases, deaths and hospitalizations
New cases reported: 1,518
New deaths reported: 41
Number hospitalized: 594 (intensive care: 160); down 528 patients from one month ago
Seven-day average of daily cases: 1,230 (down 1,025 cases from one month ago)
Seven-day average of daily deaths: 27 (up two from one month ago)
The average positivity rate — first-time positive tests over the last seven days — was 19.4% Thursday.
Total cases since the start of pandemic: 546,955 (16,684 active cases)
Total deaths: 5,992
Total doses allocated: 986,275
Total doses administered: 659,025
Doses administered Wednesday: 39,558
People with both doses: 129,766
Milwaukee leaders to hold vaccine town hall
A virtual town hall will take place Wednesday evening to give Milwaukee residents an opportunity to ask questions, voice concerns and better understand plans for COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
On the panel will be Milwaukee Interim Health Commissioner Marlaina Jackson, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Heather Paradis, Board of Health member and registered nurse Julia Means, and Mayor Tom Barrett. It will be moderated by TMJ4’s Tony Atkins.
The town hall will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday Feb. 10. Residents can register for the meeting at bit.ly/CrushCovidTownHall and questions for the panel can be submitted in advance through the site.
The town hall will be broadcast live on the City Channel (Spectrum Channel 25 or milwaukee.gov/citychannel) and livestreamed on the Health Department’s Facebook Page at Facebook.com/MKEHealth. It will be posted at milwaukee.gov/covidvax afterward.
Alison Dirr of the Journal Sentinel staff contributed to this report.
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