Current surge of COVID increases likelihood of being exposed to virus, but chances of severe illness still relatively low
More than one million people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S.
Nearly 13,000 of those people are from Wisconsin.
While deaths are become less frequent in this phase of the pandemic, Wisconsin is still averaging two deaths a day.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard with the Department of Health Services says it can be a struggle to not become numb to the deaths.
“We tend to get used to hearing about people dying. That’s something that we in medicine and public health are really trying to guard against. We shouldn’t care any less about the millionth person than we did about the first person dying. We need to continue to work hard to make sure that every life can be saved is saved,” said Westergaard.
There is reason for optimism looking forward.
Westergaard says we have the tools to make deaths from COVID nearly non-existent.
To do that, he says people need to be up to date on the COVID vaccine. There’s also the anti-viral medication.
“Now that people have been accustomed to hearing about COVID for too long, we need them to hear a few more things and that is what’s different about the COVID pandemic now. We have tools that can save peoples lives that we didn’t have in 2020,” said Westergaard.
COVID cases are rising once again in Wisconsin.
The state is averaging more than 2,100 cases a day.
Most Northwoods counties are in the medium covid community level.
At that level the CDC recommends you be up to date on your vaccines and talk to your health provider about mitigating risk.
“People should be aware that the risk of getting exposed to the virus is much higher than it was a couple of months ago. They should be concerned about getting exposed to the virus,” said Westergaard. “We should be less concerned about severe disease because we have these resources. We should no longer feel as frightened. We should feel empowered.”
Both the vaccine and anti-viral medication have been proven to significantly reduce hospitalization and deaths due to COVID.
“There’s been a noticeable increase in the number of people in hospitals, but it is very small in comparison to what we were experiencing in January,” said Westergaard.
DHS urges people to stay home and get tested if they’re experiencing COVID symptoms.