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Wisconsin breaks own record for new COVID cases

Narvikk/iStock
Narvikk/iStock

By ERIN SCHUMAKER, ABC News

(MADISON, Wisc.) — Wisconsin broke its own single-day record for novel coronavirus cases on Friday, reporting 2,533 new infections and surpassing the single-day record of 2,034 cases it logged a day prior, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

In addition to rising case counts, the state’s seven-day average for positive COVID-19 tests reached 15.3% on Friday.

A high positivity rate can be a sign that a state is only testing its sickest patients and failing to cast a net wide enough to accurately capture community transmission, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The World Health Organization recommends that governments get their positivity testing threshold below 5%.

New infections over the last month are being driven by people between the ages of 18 and 24, according to health department data.

During a press call on Thursday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he was “very concerned” about the rising cases among young people.

“I think it’s pretty clear that it’s the college campuses that are driving this, more than anything,” Barrett said. “There really has to be a redoubling of efforts to make sure that college students are taking this seriously, because it clearly is having an impact right now.”

Experts consider deaths from COVID-19 to be a lagging indictor of the outbreak’s severity, meaning that since deaths trail rising infections, positivity rates and hospitalizations, deaths typically reflect long-term trends, not in-the-moment severity.

As of Friday, 1,238 people in Wisconsin had died of the virus, according to the health department.

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