By Shereen Siewert

More than 100 people have died in Wisconsin as coronavirus cases continue to rise, but nationwide projections are trending downward, an indicator that social distancing measures are working to control the spread of the virus.

State health officials on Wednesday said 2,885 people have tested positive for COVID-19, including 12 in Marathon County. The death toll climbed to 111.

But the main model used by state and federal authorities to predict COVID-19 trends, updated on Wednesday, show far fewer projected deaths nationwide by August. The latest projections suggest 60,415 people will die nationwide from the virus, a significant decrease from previous reports. The projections are updated nearly every day with data from the U.S. and around the world.

In other developments:

  • The U.S. reached a grim milestone this week, with one in 10 Americans now out of work. In Wisconsin, 313,068 new unemployment applications were submitted between March 15 and April 6 with weekly claims reaching 589,916, according to the state Dept. of Workforce Development. By comparison, during the same period in 2019, the total number of new applications paled in comparison, 17,748, with weekly claims of 155,148. The total amount of unemployment benefits during this period was $39,597,111.
  • The S&P 500 index closed out its best week since 1974 with another gain Thursday after the Federal Reserve launched its latest unprecedented effort to support the economy through the coronavirus outbreak. The central bank’s announcement of programs to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to households, local governments and businesses overshadowed a report that another 6.6 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week. The Fed’s actions, as well as efforts by Congress, are aimed at alleviating the tremendous strains on the economy caused by the widespread business shutdowns and travel restrictions put in place to stem the spread of the virus.
  • Gov. Tony Evers on Thursday ordered the closure of 40 Wisconsin’s state parks, forests and recreational areas primarily in southern and southeastern Wisconsin to help reduce overcrowding and vandalism and to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Evers’ warned that the order could be followed by more closures if the public doesn’t follow social distancing guidelines and vandalism continues.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.