The Wisconsin Republican Party’s insistence on having in-person voting at this week’s state primary election is being decried by health experts as a “disaster” for the state’s effort to beat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Experts who spoke with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel say that this week’s primary needlessly exposed Wisconsin residents to risk of contracting COVID-19 during a time when people need to be staying in doors.
“What a disaster,” said Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins, co-founder of the volunteer organization COVID Act Now that uses scientific data to track coronavirus cases throughout the United States.
Kreiss-Tomkins predicted that Wisconsin would begin to see a spike in cases in around two weeks that would reflect all of the people who broke social distancing protocols to vote.
“New Orleans is now one of the highest per capita COVID counts in the United States a couple weeks [after Mardi Gras],” he said. “So, cause and effect? There’s certainly a case for it.”
Ali Mokdad, the chief strategy officer of population health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, hammered Republican State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos for promoting in-person voting as “safe” despite warnings from health experts.
In particular, Mokdad noted that even the best protective gear wasn’t preventing doctors and nurses across the United States from getting infected.
“These are people who have gear, who know what to do and who have been doing this all their life,” Mokdad said. “How could we afford to let our citizens come out to vote on an election when we can delay it?”