No COVID-19 spike in Milwaukee after primary election in April, CDC says

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Milwaukee did not see a spike in COVID-19 cases after the April 7 Wisconsin Democratic presidential primary, a new CDC report shows.

The election was than two weeks after Wisconsin issued a stay-at-home order to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. The city implemented several mitigation measures in line with the CDC guidance to prevent virus spread at in-person polling places. Measures included encouraging physical distancing, cleaning and disinfection efforts at Milwaukee polling sites as well as limiting in-person voting. Only five out of 181 polling sites were open in the city.

Data from the Milwaukee Election Commission shows that the percentage of people who voted by absentee mail-in ballots this year increased about fifteenfold from 2016 — 4.1 percent to 68 percent, the report shows. Those who voted early (either in person or curbside) increased by 160 percent, from 4.7 percent in 2016 to 12.2 percent in 2020.

The proportion of those who voted in person on the day of the Wisconsin primary decreased 78 percent, from 91.2 percent in 2016 to 19.8 percent.

"No clear increase in [COVID-19] cases, hospitalizations, or deaths was observed after the election, suggesting possible benefit of the mitigation strategies, which limited in-person voting and aimed to ensure safety of the polling sites open" the day of the primary, the report states.



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