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COVID-19 | Coronavirus Updates

This page features news reports published by Milwaukee Independent about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on the local community.
Editorial Note: In light of the coronavirus health situation affecting Milwaukee and its unknown implications for the future, we will continue publishing daily as a beacon of information and education for the community. We are fortunate to have an adaptive style of journalism and production management system that puts us in a safe and responsible position. As such, we have decided to publish beyond our usual format when timely news and conditions better serve the public interest.
  1. Reggie Jackson: The impact of racism is the “Other Coronavirus Crisis” for People of Color
  2. How to have a healthy conversation about the coronavirus with someone who is misinformed
  3. Mass transit in a time of need: MCTS to suspend fare collection for bus rides from March 28
  4. Fighting the Coronavirus: Why the U.S. military should deploy as a humanitarian aid force
  5. The Inconvenience of COVID-19: Understanding the shared national sacrifice for a greater good
  6. Kevin Abing: Milwaukee mobilized every resource possible in 1918 to combat the Spanish Flu epidemic
  7. Greatest Pandemic in History: Common misconceptions about the global influenza of 1918
  8. Month-long “Safer at Home” order urges Wisconsin residents to make sacrifices and work together
  9. Masks and the Microbe Menace: A misperception that safety measures shield risky activities from danger
  10. Not a Lockdown: Milwaukee implements “Stay At Home” directive in order to save lives
  11. Safer At Home: Wisconsin orders statewide closure of non-essential businesses to contain COVID-19
  12. Frontline nurses treating coronavirus victims condemn Trump’s racist rhetoric and cruelty
  13. PrideFest 2020 postponement due to COVID-19 foreshadows disruption of summer festival season
  14. Reggie Jackson: The COVID-19 pandemic lays bare the absolute moral corruption of our society
  15. Health Official condemns Senator Ron Johnson’s false equivalency between traffic accidents and COVID-19
  16. The disappointment that comes when a pandemic cancels the freedom to party
  17. Vulnerable Populations: Infection rates and mortality from COVID-19 expected to hit the homeless hard
  18. Connecting without the human touch: How to cope with the side effects of social distancing
  19. Flattening the Curve: How to slow fear from spreading faster than COVID-19
  20. Sorry, We’re Closed: The signs and sights of solitude as Milwaukee digs in to fight COVID-19
  21. Being Positive during a Pandemic: 5 tips for getting through the coronavirus as a better person
  22. COVID-19 Mutual Aid: Confronting coronavirus conditions with community instead of consternation
  23. One of Wisconsin’s first two COVID-19 Deaths confirmed in Ozaukee County
  24. Price of our Pandemic: The bill for MAGA has come due and it is time to pay up
  25. The same people who believed COVID-19 was a hoax should now buy the homeopathic cure forsythia
  26. When plagues followed bad leadership: Greek tragedy of Oedipus Tyrannos is a lesson for Trump on COVID-19
  27. Wisconsin residents reminded to take precautions against COVID-19 scams and price gouging
  28. MCTS encourages riders to limit non-essential bus travel to help prevent spread of COVID-19
  29. The supply and demand of COVID-19: Predicted infection rates would overwhelm Milwaukee hospitals
  30. Wisconsin passengers under coronavirus quarantine aboard Grand Princess cruise ship return home safely
  31. Milwaukee Municipalities issue emergency orders closing bars and restaurants to protect public health
  32. Governor Tony Evers signs statewide order prohibiting mass gatherings of more than 50 People
  33. Teaching amid Coronavirus: What to expect from educational institutions as classes move online
  34. Wisconsin mandates closure of all K-12 Schools until early April to prevent spreading of COVID-19
  35. Closure of school cafeterias due to coronavirus puts poorest children at risk of missing nutritious meals
  36. Stop hoarding the Charmin: Why people are panic buying toilet paper when there is an abundant supply
  37. The social burden of Consumerism: Shopping carts are not overflowing with compassion
  38. Social Distancing: Think of it as “Elbow Room” for your health in the age of contagious pathogens
  39. City’s Health Department urges Milwaukee residents to avoid non-essential travel
  40. Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office outlines COVID-19 protocols for protecting individuals in custody
  41. Coronavirus Hits Home: Milwaukee confirms first case of COVID-19 within the city
  42. Impact of COVID-19 sinks in for Milwaukee Bucks fans after NBA suspends remainder of season
  43. Governor Tony Evers declares public health emergency for Wisconsin in response to COVID-19
  44. A cauldron for infectious disease: Spread of COVID-19 inevitable in overcrowded ICE detention centers
  45. From SARS to Avian Influenza: A witness to history reflects on the first epidemics of the 21st-century
  46. Public health officials face challenges in distinguishing COVID-19 from seasonal influenza
  47. Plain old soap and water: Why hand-washing is still the best way to prevent illness
  48. Coronavirus Update: Milwaukee outlines preparations and precautions for dealing with COVID-19
For medical information, guidance, and resources, please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 information page or the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. All editorial content published by Milwaukee Independent related to the coronavirus can be found at mkeind.com/COVID19

For medical information, guidance, and resources, please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 information page or the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Q: What is a coronavirus?
A: It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to lung lesions and pneumonia.

Q: How contagious is the virus?
A: It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can travel through the air, enveloped in tiny respiratory droplets that are produced when a sick person breathes, talks, coughs or sneezes.

Q: Where has the virus spread?
A: The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 170,400 in at least 140 countries and more than 6,600 have died. The spread has slowed in China but is gaining speed in Europe and the United States. World Health Organization officials said the outbreak qualifies as a pandemic.

Q: What symptoms should I look out for?
A: Symptoms, which can take between two to 14 days to appear, include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Milder cases may resemble the flu or a bad cold, but people may be able to pass on the virus even before they develop symptoms.

Q: How do I keep myself and others safe?
A: Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick and avoiding touching your face.

Q: How can I prepare for an outbreak?
A: Keep a 30-day supply of essential medicines. Get a flu shot. Have essential household items on hand. Have a support system in place for elderly family members.

Q: What if I’m traveling?
A: The State Department has issued a global Level 3 health advisory telling United States citizens to “reconsider travel” to all countries because of the worldwide effects of the coronavirus. This is the department’s second-highest advisory.

Q: How long will it take to develop a treatment or vaccine?
A: Several drugs are being tested, and some initial findings are expected soon. A vaccine to stop the spread is still at least a year away.

Trump’s H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic Spin
March 13, 2020
In tweets and other appearances, President Donald Trump has repeatedly compared his response to the new coronavirus with President Barack Obama’s handling of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. But Trump’s information is frequently incorrect or misleading — and the two viruses are very different.

FactChecking Trump’s Coronavirus Address
March 12, 2020
In a short primetime address, President Donald Trump provided false, misleading and incomplete information about the new coronavirus and actions his administration has taken or will take to staunch its spread.

Trump’s Misplaced Blame on Obama for Coronavirus Tests
March 6, 2020
Amid criticism over his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that he had to overcome an Obama-era Food and Drug Administration “rule” to more quickly provide diagnostic tests to the American people. Experts, however, told us no such formal regulation was ever implemented under the previous administration.

Trump and the Coronavirus Death Rate
March 5, 2020
The World Health Organization says that 3.4% of reported COVID-19 patients worldwide have died – a global fatality figure that President Donald Trump dismissed as “a false number.” It’s not a false number, although experts say Trump has a point that the fatality rate may ultimately be quite a bit less than 3.4%.

Trump and the ‘New Hoax’
March 3, 2020
President Donald Trump accused the Democrats of “politicizing” the new coronavirus, calling it “their new hoax.” Even after Trump explained his remarks, some Democrats — including Mike Bloomberg — continued to wrongly accuse Trump of describing the coronavirus as a “hoax.”

FactChecking Trump’s Coronavirus Press Conference
February 27, 2020
Facing a declining stock market and criticism from Democrats, President Donald Trump and other officials have minimized the risks of the coronavirus to the U.S. and given inaccurate and misleading information about the new virus.

Coronavirus Misinformation Spreads Like a Virus
January 31, 2020
China first reported a new strain of viral pneumonia in the city of Wuhan on Dec. 31, and, within a month, the internet was infected with misinformation about the illness, now called the 2019 novel coronavirus.

Social Media Posts Spread Bogus Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory
January 24, 2020
Multiple social media posts are spreading a bogus conspiracy theory about the deadly Wuhan virus. The posts falsely claim that the virus has been patented and a vaccine is already available. That’s not true; the patents the posts refer to pertain to different viruses.

January 21, 2020
U.S. ANNOUNCES FIRST CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASE
The United States announces its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in a county just north of Seattle, Washington. The first patient is a man in his 30s who roughly a week before had returned from Wuhan, China – the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus.

January 27, 2020
DHS HOLDS FIRST COVID-19 MEDIA BRIEFING
The state Department of Health Services holds its first media briefing call to provide updates on coronavirus.

January 28, 2020
MILWAUKEE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHES FIRST NEWS REPORT ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS

January 30, 2020
WHO DECLARES GLOBAL PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
The World Health Organization declares COVID-19 a global public health emergency after more than 9,000 cases are identified in 19 countries.

January 31, 2020
TRUMP ANNOUNCES TRAVEL BAN
The White House announces a travel ban for foreign nationals who visited China within the last 14 days.

February 5, 2020
FIRST WISCONSIN COVID-19 CASE CONFIRMED
The first case of coronavirus in Wisconsin is confirmed by Dane County. Officials say the individual recently returned from China and went immediately from the airport to UW Hospital, then to isolation at home where they will remain there until testing shows they no longer have coronavirus.

February 8, 2020
FIRST U.S. CITIZEN DIES OF COVID-19
The first American citizen dies of coronavirus. The 60-year-old passes away in a hospital in Wuhan, China.

February 28, 2020
FIRST WISCONSIN COVID-19 PATIENT RELEASED FROM ISOLATION
The first person from Wisconsin confirmed to have COVID-19 is released from isolation after twice testing negative for the virus.

February 29, 2020
FIRST DEATH IN U.S. FROM COVID-19
Health officials in Washington state confirm a man in his 50s passed away after contracting COVID-19, the first confirmed death from coronavirus in the United States.

March 2, 2020
WISCONSIN TESTING CRITERIA ANNOUNCED
The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene at UW-Madison announces it is conducting tests for the COVID-19. Due to restrictions on testing capacity, those being tested must display symptoms of the virus as well as have traveled to its original hotspots of China, Iran, South Korea or Italy within 14 days of when symptoms began or had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

March 6, 2020
TRUMP SIGNS $8.3 BILLION CORONAVIRUS PACKAGE
President Trump signs an $8.3 billion emergency spending package aimed at researching and fighting COVID-19. The package first passes the House on a 415-2 vote and the Senate a day later by a 96-1 margin. All members of the Wisconsin delegation vote in favor of the package.

March 8, 2020
U.S. COVID-19 CASES PASS 500
The Centers of Disease Control confirms the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. passes 500.

March 9, 2020
WISCONSIN REPORTS SECOND CASE
DHS confirms a second coronavirus case in Wisconsin. The agency says the person lives in Pierce County and was exposed to COVID-19 while traveling within the U.S.

March 10, 2020
WISCONSIN REPORTS THIRD CASE
DHS confirms the state’s third case of COVID-19, the second in Dane County. The agency says the person also contracted the virus while traveling within the U.S.

March 11, 2020
WHO DECLARES PANDEMIC
The World Health Organization says COVID-19 “can be characterized as a pandemic.” Trump announces restrictions on a wide swath of travelers from Europe, excluding Ireland and the United Kingdom. DHS officials report the number of cases in Wisconsin doubles from three to six.

March 12, 2020
EVERS DECLARES PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
Gov. Tony Evers declares a public health emergency directing DHS to purchase, store and distribute medications as needed, help local health departments with costs related to quarantine and isolation and authorizing the Wisconsin adjutant general to activate the National Guard. DHS Secretary Andrea Palm calls for events with over 250 people to be canceled, but says schools “will remain open.” DHS confirms the state’s seventh and eighth cases of COVID-19.

March 13, 2020
TRUMP DECLARES NATIONAL EMERGENCY; EVERS ORDERS SCHOOLS CLOSED
President Trump declares a national state of emergency. Evers calls for schools to close by March 18. In the order directing the closure, Evers says he anticipates reopening schools by April 6, but adds that date is subject to change “pending further information.” The state Elections Commission begins publicly urging voters to sign up for absentee ballots. The number of coronavirus cases in the state more than doubles from eight to 19.

March 14, 2020
HOUSE APPROVES SECOND CORONAVIRUS PACKAGE
The House votes 363-40 to approve a second coronavirus package addressing paid leave, Medicaid funding, food assistance and unemployment benefits. Wisconsin’s four House Republicans vote against the package while the state’s three Dems support it.

March 15, 2020
DANE COUNTY SHUTTERS SCHOOLS, RESTRICTS GROUP GATHERINGS
Dane County public health officials shutter schools and ban gatherings of 50 people or more. Hours later, the CDC recommends the same 50-person threshold for gatherings and the White House extends the European travel ban to Ireland and the U.K. DHS confirms 33 positive cases of COVID-19.

March 16, 2020
EVERS RESTRICTS PUBLIC GATHERINGS TO GROUPS OF 50 OR LESS
Evers orders a statewide ban on gatherings of 50 people or more but exempts infrastructure and services such as grocery stores, food pantries, childcare centers, pharmacies and hospitals. The ban allows bars and restaurants to remain open but operate at 50 percent of capacity or a maximum of 50 people, whichever is less. Trump advised Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore announces she is self-quarantining after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. DHS reports 47 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.

March 17, 2020
GATHERINGS LIMITED TO 10 PEOPLE; RESTAURANTS, BARS LIMITED TO TAKE-OUT ONLY
Evers updates the ban to restrict gatherings of 10 or more people and reverses course on foodservice establishments, ordering bars and restaurants to be closed to in-house patrons by 5 p.m. He also calls on lawmakers to immediately repeal a one-week delay in collecting unemployment benefits. Palm says there is evidence of community spread in Dane, Kenosha and Milwaukee counties, meaning some of those testing positive haven’t had any exposure to a known case or traveled somewhere where someone has tested positive. DHS reports 72 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state

March 18, 2020
CONFIRMED COVID-19 CASES IN WISCONSIN SURPASS 100
The Democratic National Committee and state Democratic Party file a lawsuit asking a federal judge to push back the deadline for online and mail voter registration until April 3, among other things. Elections officials raise the alarm that the push for voters to sign up for absentee ballots has left local clerks short on envelopes. Elections commissioners deadlock on a proposal to ask Evers and the Legislature to meet in special session to address election safety but approve funding for more envelopes. Trump signs the second coronavirus package into law after the Senate earlier in the day passes it by a 90-8 margin. U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin split on the package, with the Madison Dem voting for it and the Oshkosh Republican opposing it.

March 19, 2020
STATE ANNOUNCES FIRST COVID-19 DEATHS
Evers announces the first two coronavirus-related deaths in the state: a Fond du Lac County man in his 50s and an Ozaukee County man in his 90s. The number of absentee ballot requests for the April 7 election surpasses the previous high-water mark for a spring election. An employee at Waupun Correctional Institution tests positive for COVID-19. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett goes into self-quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. DHS reports 155 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.

March 20, 2020
THIRD WISCONSIN DEATH REPORTED; EVERS ORDERS PERSONAL CARE BUSINESSES CLOSED
DHS confirms the third COVD-19 death in Wisconsin. Gov. Tony Evers orders hair salons, day spas, nail salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, body art establishments and tanning facilities to close by 5 p.m. and issues a moratorium on admission to state prisons. The federal judge overseeing the DNC/DPW lawsuit extends the deadline to March 30 to register electronically to vote in the spring election. Four of the Legislature’s top Republicans say they don’t believe additional restrictions are needed on Wisconsin businesses. DHS reports 206 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state.

March 21, 2020
FOURTH WISCONSIN DEATH REPORTED
DHS reports a fourth coronavirus death in Wisconsin and says there are 281 positive cases in the state. New Jersey issues a stay-at-home order.

March 22, 2020
EVERS HALTS UTILITY DISCONNECTIONS; WISCONSIN CASES JUMP TO 381
Gov. Tony Evers stops utility disconnections for all customers due to nonpayment and blocks late fees. The state Supreme Court largely postpones jury trials and in-person proceedings statewide. The U.S. Senate fails to clear a key procedural hurdle on a third coronavirus package. The body deadlocks 47-47 with Johnson voting with Senate Republicans in favor of cloture and Baldwin joining Dems in opposition. DHS reports the number of positive COVID-19 cases jumps by 100 to 381.

March 24, 2020
EVERS RELEASES STAY-AT-HOME ORDER WITH WIDE-RANGING EXEMPTIONS
Evers announces a sweeping stay-at-home order that limits personal contact between Wisconsinites but allows essential businesses to remain open over the next month. Barrett urges Evers and GOP legislative leaders to conduct the upcoming spring election through mail ballots, saying in-person voting is not “feasible or safe for our workers or residents.” DHS says the number of positive cases has jumped to 457.