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Wisconsin hits record number of coronavirus cases and deaths after Republicans try to overturn mask mandate

Wisconsin hits record number of coronavirus cases and deaths after Republicans try to overturn mask mandate

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Wisconsin Gov Tony Evers said the state is being “overwhelmed” by the surge of Covid-19 cases. (Getty Images)

Wisconsin’s rising coronavirus crisis reached a distressing new high, as the state reported its worst day of the pandemic yet.

Wisconsin on Tuesday recorded a new state record for the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in a single day with 3,279 reported infections, according to the state’s Department of Health Services. There were also 34 new deaths on Tuesday, up from the state’s previous high of 27 deaths in a day.

The health department has now recorded a total of 155,471 confirmed cases since Covid-19 first hit the state, with 1,508 total deaths from the virus.

The number of Wisconsinites hospitalised due to Covid-19 also hit a new high for a second day in a row, growing from 950 to 959. Governor Tony Evers said hospitalisations in the state have nearly tripled in the past month.

Wisconsin has logged 17,437 new cases over the past week — more than any other state except for the much more populous California and Texas.

Next week, state officials plan to open a 530-bed field hospital at the state fairgrounds near Milwaukee to help treat the influx of coronavirus patients. The decision came after Mr Evers said last week that “our healthcare systems are being overwhelmed by the surge of Covid-19 cases.”

Over the past month, Wisconsin has become one of the nation’s hot spots for Covid-19 as schools reopened and fatigue over social distancing and mask-wearing grew. Mr Evers, a Democrat, has also attributed the surge in cases to the Wisconsin Supreme Court striking down his “safer at home” order in May at the urging of his Republican colleagues.

The pushback from the state’s GOP-controlled legislature didn’t stop there — in July, Mr Evers issued a statewide order mandating masks in enclosed spaces, which he then extended to November. Republican lawmakers sued to overturn the mask mandate, but a judge ruled in Mr Evers’ favor on Monday. According to CNN, Republicans said they would appeal the decision, calling the issue a “critical constitutional matter.”

The New York Times reports that, as of Tuesday afternoon, more than 7.8 million people in the US have been infected with Covid-19 and at least 215,100 have died.

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