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Two prominent Milwaukee doctors jab COVID myths

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Screenshot by Chuck Quirmbach
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Dr. John Raymond showed a slide depicting COVID-19 trends during a Tuesday forum organized by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

Two prominent local doctors are trying to dissolve misinformation about COVID-19. The efforts come as COVID cases remain very high in the state.

On Tuesday, Dr. John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin, described the figures this way: "These numbers are unprecedentedly bad."

Raymond told members of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce that the seven-day average for newly-diagnosed COVID cases in Wisconsin is more than 9,000 per day.

"And recall that at the peak of the surge in November 2020, the highest single day that we had was just under 8,000," Raymond said.

Raymond said the new number is probably an under-estimate, due to the lack of more reliable COVID-19 tests known as PCR.

Raymond said on average, 28 people in the state are dying of COVID every day.

Despite the bleak picture, Raymond said there continues to be misleading information about COVID-19, especially since omicron is now the dominant variant of the coronavirus. Raymond said it's not true that vaccinated people are more susceptible to omicron.

"The likelihood that you're going to be hospitalized or to die from COVID-19 is much higher if you're not vaccinated. That's what matters," Raymond emphasized.

Raymond's colleague at MCW, Dr. Ben Weston, disputes the notion that we shouldn't worry about the omicron variant because health experts said it's thought to produce milder symptoms.

"I'll tell you from patient, after patient, after patient that I see in the emergency department, especially for those who are unvaccinated, that mild disease even in those folks, [they] still tend to be sick for days, sick for weeks, laid up in bed, body aches, fevers, chills," Weston said.

Weston said until the omicron surge fades, people should start wearing better masks, such as models known as N95 or KN95.

The Milwaukee Health Department said it's given out about a half-million of the better masks in just four days, and hopes to get more from the state by later this week.

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