One of the biggest questions on everyone’s mind is, when will we be back to normal? For every small business in Wisconsin and across the nation is, will we survive to see the other side of this? In a recent study conducted at the University of Wisconsin, 2,550 Wisconsin businesses were surveyed, and 35% of them said they would be forced to close if current conditions lasted for more than 3 months. It is hard to say how long we will be stuck in our current state and I think that’s what many people fear the most. My goal is to take a deeper dive into some of the data that is available to us and see the changes in how rapidly the coronavirus has spread and is spreading in Wisconsin, and compare that data to what is happening on a national level. I hope that we will find some indicators on a light at the end of this tunnel.
Let’s take a look at Figure 1 below. It shows Wisconsin’s new cases by day as well as the growth rate on a given day from March 15th to April 22nd.
As you can see, new cases discovered each day has been remaining relatively flat, and the growth rate for the virus has fallen sharply. The curve that we are all trying to flatten is the yellow, new positives portion of the graph. With the relative flatness of the curve, it is hard to tell if we are still on the upside of the curve, or the top of it. This graph may also be misleading with the fact that it is not taking into account any fluctuation in the availability of testing. If the number of tests conducted each day has dramatically increased, but the number of new cases each day has not increased by a similar percentage, the growth rate of the virus would be overstated.
With the state increasing its capacity to test, it would be wise to compare this data to new cases dividend by the total number of tests on a given day. Figure 2 below paints a slightly different picture than Figure 1.
It shows us that we are seeing a higher percentage of total tests being conducted coming back with a positive result.
This shows us that we aren’t quite out of the woods yet with COVID – 19, and with the currently available data, it is still very difficult to say when we will resume business as usual. Compared to the rest of the U.S., Wisconsin is contributing a very small portion of the overall new cases each day making up roughly half of a percent of all new cases in the U.S. Considering Wisconsin makes up about 1.8% of the total U.S. population, Wisconsin is contributing much less than it’s “fair share” of new cases each day.
Governor Evers has announced his Badger Bounce Back Plan which includes a plan to get businesses back in operation in phases, and the Federal government has just approved a $484 billion bill that will provide another $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Plan of which was exhausted earlier this month. Click here for a link to a Wall Street Journal article that gives small businesses everything that needs to know about obtaining assistance.
With the level of uncertainty that many businesses are facing, many are trying to find ways to cut down on costs and one of the main ways companies can do that is to reevaluate their current insurance program. If you have an interest in exploring different insurance options to see if there is a solution out there that may be able to cut down on costs, or you just want a second opinion on your current coverages, we would be more than happy to assist you with that. If you are an essential business and need any assistance with obtaining or creating a COVID-19 Response Plan as recommended by Governor Evers, please reach out and we can assist you and your organization with that at no cost.
In short, the data doesn’t give us a good indication as to where we stand with COVID-19 and when we can get Wisconsin businesses back in action. Hopefully, we will see some positive developments in the coming weeks.
Graph data from https://covidtracking.com/data