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Author: Wisconsin Watch

Coronavirus skeptics and their denial of any danger has helped kill a thousand Wisconsinites in 21 days

Some Wisconsinites downplay the severity of COVID-19, spurning masks and vaccinations and inhibiting efforts to contain the pandemic. Dan trusts practically nothing the media and medical establishments say about the COVID-19 pandemic. He considers the threat overblown. And saying as much on Twitter has triggered some heated arguments. “You question anything, you get told you’re going to kill grandma or you’re doing something wrong, and you’re made to feel like you’re unpatriotic for not putting on a mask,” he said. Dan of Muskego is an active voter who has worked for the past several years at a restaurant. He...

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Wisconsin Legislators continue to ignore requests by municipal clerks for how to process absentee ballots

As Claire Woodall-Vogg stood in the middle of an empty Central Count facility days before the Nov. 3 election, it wasn’t just the national spotlight on the city of Milwaukee or the swirling claims of voter fraud that weighed heavily on her mind. It was the frustration that she, and hundreds of other Milwaukee election workers, were facing an unprecedented pile of absentee ballots — and no permission to process them. For years, Woodall-Vogg, executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission, and other election officials have pushed for absentee vote processing to start before Election Day. While momentum on...

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Wisconsin’s legislature unwilling to act as record-setting death toll overwhelms COVID-19 medical units

Health care workers scrambled to treat patients on a day when 92 Wisconsin lives were reported lost. Outside of the hospital, politicians postured. The exterior of University Hospital in Madison on November 17 looked remarkably ordinary. A line of cars queued outside of the parking garage, where drivers must still push a button and grab a ticket before entering. Patients streamed in and out of the building. The first hint that these are extraordinary times: everyone wore masks as screeners checked visitors’ symptoms and temperatures. Parts of the COVID-19 unit three floors upstairs also looked unspectacular. The floor was...

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False pandemic data on social media complicates Wisconsin’s effort to halt spread of COVID-19

When the coronavirus started spreading around Wisconsin in the spring of 2020, Dr. Chad Tamez hosted Facebook Live sessions to help patients understand the mysterious new pathogen. But the family physician in West Bend stopped the online tutorials after a few weeks as the pandemic became increasingly political. More than a half year later, the medical world has expanded its understanding of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Multiple vaccine candidates have reached late-stage trials, and epidemiologists have mapped how the virus spreads and attacks the human body. Those advances draw on rivers of data about COVID-19 —...

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Anatomy of a disaster: Jobless families struggles without aid as Wisconsin Legislators deflect blame

As Wisconsin businesses shuttered this spring to slow the spread of COVID-19, jobless filings and phone calls flooded the state Department of Workforce Development — too quickly for staffers to keep up. But DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman remained optimistic In a May 4 email, Frostman told Unemployment Insurance Division Administrator Mark Reihl to “hang in there.” “If we can get through May, I think we will be cooking with gas with all the new people on board and call centers up and running,” Frostman wrote. Three days days later, Frostman emailed Reihl before a meeting with the state’s Unemployment...

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Trump targets Democratic strongholds in Wisconsin to toss out 170,000 in-person absentee ballots

The president’s team wants to toss 170,000 in-person absentee ballots in Dane and Milwaukee counties, experts call the effort a long shot. It may feel like 2016 all over again for some Wisconsin election officials: a presidential contender wins by about a 20,000-vote margin, there is a nearly even partisan divide and with Thanksgiving around the corner, workers are beginning a recount. But this recount differs in one key respect. President Donald Trump’s campaign is not just looking for an accurate count of votes. The primary aim is to separate out and invalidate tens of thousands of ballots in...

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