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'It's Not One Or The Other' When It Comes To Following Coronavirus Health Guidelines

Washing your hands, wearing a face mask and social distancing are all important measures to help reduce spreading COVID-19. But you must do them all, not choose one or the other to have the greatest impact.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to reach new heights in Wisconsin. For the first time, the seven-day average of infections has reached 5,000 people. That’s more than a 500% increase from just a couple of months ago. Hospitalizations have soared as community spread has allowed the disease to infect and kill vulnerable people.

Still, due to conservative opposition, Wisconsin lacks the safety regulations that other states have implemented — and the Republican-led Legislature hasn’t taken any action to limit the spread of this disease. Without swift action and extra precautions, the future of this pandemic remains unclear.

“A lot of the spread is occurring in families and in social gatherings in homes. People still worry about going out, there’s no sporting events we can go to or big performances, so they’re gathering in homes thinking that that’s safer when in fact, it’s spreading faster that way,” says Dr. Laura Cassidy, the research director for the Institute of Health & Equity at the Medical College of Wisconsin. 

Since places like restaurants worked with the Milwaukee Health Department to create safety standards, she says those public places may be safer than a friend or family member’s home. That's because they are legally required to deep clean and follow mask rules.

“Right now is the time to minimize your interaction as much as possible. None of us like that and it’s hard, and it’s going to be hard with the holidays approaching,” she says.

Along with minimizing indoor interaction, she says people must continue to wear face masks, follow social distancing rules and wash hands often.

“It’s layers of protection. You want to stay as far away from somebody as you can and you want to wear a face-covering and you to use hand sanitizer. It’s not one or the other,” she says.

Joy Powers hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM January 2016 as a producer for Lake Effect.
From 2020 to 2021, Jack was WUWM's digital intern and then digital producer.