Thursday, May 7, 2020

"Safer at Home" In WI Seems To Be Working...Except In Places People Are Ignoring It

Waukesha Co. residents keep defying the order...and wouldn't you know it? The gap between Dane County's rate of COVID cases and their cases is widening.

"Safer at home" in Wisconsin seems to be working...for now.

In spite of protests at the capitol (and many others in Waukesha County...more on that in a second), and the forced in-person election that Republicans in the state legislature made happen, the trendline for coronavirus cases in Wisconsin, as of right now, is going down, since the announcement of Gov. Tony Evers's "Badger Bounceback" was made.

We're not out of the woods yet, but we're seemingly going in the right direction.

The past four days have seen testing percentages of coronavirus in the state below 10 percent. The four days prior to that had all seen testing percentages that were above 10 percent, so it's great news that we're away from THAT trend.

Check out the red line in the graph below. That's the direction we're presently headed in:

It's not a statistically significant change from where we were weeks ago, but it's still a more desired path than a line in the opposite direction would be.

Now, the bad news. Wisconsin residents are apparently not adhering to social distancing standards the way they used to. This report from NBC 15 in Madison explains how our "grade" has gone down:
A New York-based data analytics company, Unacast, is keeping a social distance score throughout the pandemic. The tool gives a grade based on several categories using cell phone data and comparing it to a pre-covid-19 time period.

Six weeks ago, Wisconsin received a ‘B ’grade. Today, the state dropped to a 'D.'
Sadly, Dane County is down to a "D" as well in its grade.

But here's a theory I have about our county's grade: It's possible that our lower grade is inflated, somewhat, by all of the out-of-towners who flocked to Madison last month in order to protest at the capitol. Unacast's models are based on cellphone data, and documenting that much travel in the area may have made it seem like we were doing more bad than good when it came to social distancing.

It's also possible that we're not doing as well as we should. We should keep an eye on Unacast's future reports to know for sure...

But interestingly, Waukesha County is doing worse in its grade from Unacast, down to an "F," according to Unacast's grading system.

I point out the difference between the two counties because, last Saturday, I tweeted out a prediction that the gap in the rates of coronavirus cases between Dane County and Waukesha County would expand, with Waukesha's rate being higher. My reasoning was that Waukesha residents (particularly in Brookfield) keep holding protests in which they gathered to protest the stay-at-home orders that are currently in place because they want their damn haircuts back.

Here's my tweet from that time:
As noted above, Waukesha County had a rate of coronavirus cases last Saturday that was 9.45 percent higher than Dane County's rate. As of Thursday, where do things stand?

Waukesha County now has a rate that's 14.4 percent greater than Dane County's rate, according to the Journal Sentinel's coronavirus tracker.

In short, social distancing seems to be working across much of the state, except in communities where people flout it. Pretending like it doesn't matter how we react to what Waukesha residents have done...seems, at first glance, to result in the spread of the disease.

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