“People should not be forced to put their lives on the line to vote.” – Bernie Sanders, April 1
“Wisconsin’s primary to go forward Tuesday even as coronavirus all but shutters the U.S.” – POLITICO, April 4
“Wisconsin legislature comes under fire for ‘unconscionable’ decision to hold primary amid coronavirus pandemic.” – Washington Post, April 5
“‘This is ridiculous’: Wisconsin holds its primary election in the middle of a pandemic.” – CNN, April 7
“Stay home and feel defeated, or go out, make my voice heard, and potentially contract a horrible virus.” – Wisconsin resident Quinn Blackshere, age 27
“52 People Who Took Part in Wisconsin’s Primary Have Tested Positive for Coronavirus.”- Associated Press, April 29
Fifty-two people infected.
That’s 52 people infected out of over 400,000 ballots cast in person, plus poll workers. Also remember that out of those 52 who tested positive, we have no idea how many — if any — were actually infected on Election Day due to in-person voting. Ryan Westergaard, chief medical officer at Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services, said as much: “It would be speculative to say that was definitely the cause without really investigating closely and being clear that somebody really had no other potential exposure to infected people. I don’t think we have the resources to really do that to know definitely.”
None of the 52 has died. One Milwaukee resident was quoted saying, “I don’t feel that I’m risking my life, but it’s definitely different. Everyone is properly practicing social distancing.” Social distancing, as I’ve been telling people for weeks, works.
Gov. Tony Evers, the state’s Democratic governor, tried to postpone the election, warning that holding the vote as scheduled would be “a significant concern and a very unnecessary public health risk,” but it would seem that his concerns, while significant, were over an insignificant public health risk. The primary vote was held as scheduled due to saner heads prevailing in the Republican-dominated state assembly and Supreme Court.
Wisconsin did see a surge in COVID-19 infections on April 22, but that was “due to an outbreak at several meat-packing facilities” near Green Bay, a major city. Most of the 52 “election” cases were in densely-populated Milwaukee.
New York City, the epicenter of the Wuhan-virus pandemic in the United States, is still in serious trouble. The New York Times reported on Monday that “more than 27,000 New Yorkers have died since the start of the novel coronavirus outbreak in March — 20,900 more than would be expected over this period.” In Florida, where Republican Governor Ron DeSantis was supposedly “late” in ordering a statewide shutdown, and where restrictions are already being lifted, coronavirus-related deaths are only 1,218 as of yesterday — and the growth rate is slowing. Florida managed to flatten the curve despite some of the country’s most relaxed restrictions. It seems at this point that the safest place to be is somewhere warm, or not-too-densely populated, or not completely reliant on mass transportation. The worst place to be is any city governed by populist blowhard Bill de Blasio.
Wisconsin’s primary vote was held more than three weeks ago, and the Wuhan coronavirus has an incubation period of about two weeks. So it’s extremely doubtful that we’ll see those numbers grow.
I think it’s safe to say all the worry about holding the Wisconsin primary as scheduled turned out to be a big nothingburger with a side of zerofries.
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