MADISON, WI (AP)–Wisconsin’s top health leader said Tuesday that without more restrictions to limit human interaction, up to 1,000 people in the state could die in two weeks.
Over that same time period, models estimate 22,000 would contract the virus, said Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm.
Palm released the projections on the same day that Gov. Tony Evers ordered the closure of nonessential businesses and said restricted the reasons people can leave their home.
As of Tuesday, there were five deaths and 457 confirmed cases due to COVID-19 in Wisconsin.
Health officials had previously estimated that 10% of the people who test positive for the virus. It’s now believed to be closer to 20%, said Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Wisconsin’s chief medical officer for communicable diseases.
Evers and health officials stressed that the only way to slow the spread of the virus was for people to avoid contact with others. That’s especially important, they said, given that many people who have the virus spread it unknowingly because they have minor or no symptoms.