By M.D. Kittle
MADISON —Wisconsin, we have a problem.
It would seem Gov. Tony Evers and his team have way overstated the stress that COVID-19 would put on the state’s hospitals and medical resources.
As of Monday, 397 people were hospitalized with the novel coronavirus, representing about 0.0068 percent of the Badger State’s population, according to the Department of Health Services’ “Hospital Capabilities” webpage. Less than half of those were in Intensive Care.
The state has a total of 11,902 hospital beds, with 4,385 of those immediately available.
The vast majority of the 4,346 cases of COVID-19 were reported in southeast and southcentral Wisconsin, the most heavily populated areas of the state. Milwaukee has seen 2,140 cases thus far, and Dane County had 361 – representing more than half of all cases in the two counties alone.
About a quarter of the state’s 1,258 available ventilators were in use.
While COVID-19 remains a serious health risk, do these numbers justify effectively shutting down Wisconsin and its people for another month?
Meanwhile, some 400,000 Wisconsinites are out of work because so many “nonessential” businesses have been forced to shut down. The Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy (CROWE) last week reported that north of 16 percent of Wisconsin is jobless — more than 6 full percentage points higher than the peak of the Great Recession. More than a quarter of the working population could be unemployed when all is said and done, according to some estimates.
And for what? All of those doomsday predictions by Evers’ health team have not come to pass, and it isn’t because the governor’s bubble-wrapping of Wisconsin worked. It’s because the numbers were so very wrong to begin with. And what does it say that Evers’ controversial Department of Health Services secretary has been loathe to show her math?