Even with better projections on COVID-19, officials say 'Safer at Home' is more important than ever

People in Wisconsin line up to vote during coronavirus pandemic
Posted at 9:41 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 13:50:40-04

With Passover starting Wednesday and Easter on Sunday, Milwaukee County is making an effort to remind people to stay at home. The weekend comes as new data projections show that social distancing may be working to flatten the curve.

Dr. Ben Weston, the Milwaukee County Medical Director, says, "social distancing, minimizing trips outside of the home. Keeping the right distance when you are outside of the home. I think a lot of the right things are being done, and that's why we've seen that projection improve."

Weston is talking about the University of Washington projection that is continuously revised with new data. The latest version shows the expected peak coming much earlier, Monday, April 13th.

"Today it looks quite a bit more promising the peak is lower, the peak is closer, which isn't necessarily a good thing but in this case, it's a lower peak as well," says Weston.

The University of Washington study shows less critical care beds needed and a significantly lowered death toll than initially anticipated. Short only 12 ICU beds and a total of 424 deaths by August. But the data does not take into account Tuesday's election, which Weston says could change results.

"What we did in Milwaukee County yesterday was anything but social distancing… I would be shocked if it doesn't have an effect on the numbers," says Weston.

One way the county is continuing to press its "Stay Home Save Lives" in the community is by turning to local faith leaders. Pastor Walter Lanier of the Progressive Baptist Church in Milwaukee has been addressing his congregation online since before the Governor's "Safer at Home" order. He says parishioners are glad to have a place to meet online.

"What that says to me is two things. They are honoring that stay at home message; they really appreciate even more the steps that we are taking to create community online."

Pastor Lanier will hold service on Easter Sunday online. He says part of his message will be to accept our new normal for now.

"If we just settle into it slow down, we're used to doing things so quickly in our nation and our globe. If we slow down our pace, take a breath, its not shifting in days… it's weeks and months. We'll be alright; we'll be okay."

Dr. Weston's key message to those who are currently observing the "Safer at Home" order is "the better we do at staying home right now, the sooner we can get out, the sooner we can go back to our normal lives."

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