Credit: FaustFoto

By Shereen Siewert

Wisconsin’s confirmed coronavirus cases increased by 460 on Friday, the second day in a row of record-high infections, the state Department of Health Services reported.

To date, 327 people have died from the virus in the state and more than 7,300 have tested positive. The spike also marked the second day in a row that positive cases increased as a percentage of overall tests processed. State officials say they are ramping up the number of tests being performed as capacity increased.

Marathon County cases increased to 19 on Friday, while Lincoln County reported its first case to date.

Researchers are looking at overall mortality rates to determine whether COVID-19 is actually causing more deaths, testing the argument that the virus is only killing people who would have died anyway form other causes. What they’re finding: The virus is causing a significant rise in death rates, especially in the seven states hardest hit by the pandemic. In those states, total deaths are nearly 50 percent higher than normal, according to death statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In New York City, the home of the biggest outbreak, the number of deaths over this period is more than three times the normal number.

U.S. deaths from the respiratory virus surpassed the number of estimated flu deaths for the 2019-2020 flu season earlier this week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Friday, Johns Hopinks reports more than 64,000 Americans have died of complications related to coronavirus. This season CDC estimates that between 29,000 and 59,000 have died due to influenza illnesses during the current flu season.

Gov. Tony Evers’ plan for reopening the state calls for a general 14-day decline in new cases as a percentage of overall tests given. Businesses are pushing Evers to open the state more quickly. The state chamber of commerce has a plan that would allow for all businesses to resume, with some limitations, starting Monday.

State officials are now reporting the number of recoveries in addition to the new cases reported. According to the DHS, 3,509 people have recovered from COVID-19, about 48 percent of the overall cases reported.

In other developments:

  • American Airlines will require all customers to wear masks starting May 11.
  • Menards is one of several big box retailers to announce they will require customers to wear masks.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz extended the state’s stay at home order to May 18.
  • Organizers of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual fly-in and convention have canceled the July 20-26 event.

The Associated Press contributed to this story