Wisconsin faces a public health nightmare: Officials must simultaneously wage war on COVID-19 pandemic and a parallel "infodemic" of false, misleading and dangerous claims that downplay the seriousness of the disease.
Wisconsin's public health agencies each day release a deluge of data about where and how quickly COVID-19 is spreading. The river of information helps communities gauge everything from where to expect new outbreaks to which hospitals are likely to see a flood of patients.
When COVID-19 took root across the United States in early 2020 the illness quickly overshadowed other public health priorities. The effects of this novel coronavirus were identified as grave and far-reaching, and the disease eclipsed a much more familiar threat to human health.
A historically disruptive global pandemic unfolding during an era of deep social and political divisions and widespread distrust in American institutions has led to a swift and fierce politicization of public health.
The killing of George Floyd, a Black resident of Minneapolis, reignited ongoing protests against police brutality — a movement fueled in part by a widening breach between law enforcement and the local communities they are charged with serving.