By Shereen Siewert
The number of cases of COVID-19 in Marathon County rose to nine on Thursday while one person has recovered from the virus, according to the Marathon County Health Department.
Statewide, Wisconsin is reporting 1,730 confirmed cases as of early in the day on April 2, with 20,317 negative tests. The death toll rose to 31 in Wisconsin.
Globally, more than a million people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, which is being blamed for more than 51,000 deaths. More than 198,000 people have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
Andrea Palm, secretary of the health agency, also clarified her earlier announcement that models showed by April 8 that 22,000 people could be infected and up to 1,500 could die. She said that was how many would ultimately die, not deaths by that date.
The model was also generated before Gov. Tony Evers’ order for people to stay at home, she said.
Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s chief medical officer for communicable diseases, said evidence is showing that mitigation efforts are working and the growth in cases is not as high as was expected when that model was created.
The outbreak is continuing to disrupt daily lives and wreak havoc on businesses and people throughout the state and nationwide, throwing 10 million Americans out of work in just two weeks, the swiftest, most stunning collapse the U.S. job market has ever witnessed, and economists warn unemployment could reach levels not seen since the Depression, as the economic damage piles up around the world.
The bleak news Thursday — a record-shattering 6.6 million new unemployment claims on top of last week’s unprecedented 3.3 million — came as the competition for scarce ventilators, masks and other protective gear seemed to grow more desperate and deaths mounted with alarming speed in Italy, Spain and New York, the most lethal hot spot in the nation, with nearly 2,400 lives lost.
Locally, Wausau Events announced on Thursday they will cancel all events through July. The organization hosts a weekly Concerts on the Square series in the summer months, as well as the popular Balloon Rally and Rib Fest that draws tens of thousands of people to the area each summer. Wausau Events does not sponsor the Wisconsin Valley Fair or Wausau’s annual Fourth of July celebration, nor is the organization connected with the Wisconsin Woodchucks baseball team.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison announced Thursday it will not offer any in-person classes during its summer term, instead moving to online only because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The move affecting more than 300 courses comes after UW-Madison canceled all in-person classes for the spring term and moved them to online. The moves are consistent with what colleges and universities are doing across the country.
“The decision to suspend in-person instruction was made with the safety of our students in mind,” said Aphra Mednick, the associate dean for summer term. “We already had a robust online offering and in response, we are offering even more online courses than ever before so students can continue their academic progress.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.