What are you planning to do today?

How about a little socializing? We're calling people who have already requested an absentee ballot to remind them to get it back to their municipal clerks as quickly as they can. That might mean putting the postage prepaid certificate envelop in the mail box. Or it might mean a little excursion to put it into a drop box or mail slot at the village or city hall. Please help make these fun and easy calls by using this link: https://www.openvpb.com/vpb_bycode/8788B3J-738557.

If you don't already have a log in through ActionID, you'll be asked to make an account — it's simple and easy to to so. Just follow the prompts. Once you have made the account, you will be directed to the phone bank. The screen will show you who you are calling and the phone number. The script with the prompts to record responses is also visible. Once you save a call, you'll be directed to the next one. This election is vital. We need your help. And besides, what else is so urgent in your stay-at-home life? So do some good while you're doing some good! https://www.openvpb.com/vpb_bycode/8788B3J-738557.

Here's a list of where to go to turn in an absentee ballot as of March 31 at 11am.

  • Bayside: mail slot in front door of Village Hall

  • Brown Deer: a cream colored mailbox in front of Village Hall

  • Fox Point: mail slot in front door of Village Hall

  • Glendale: mail slot in front door of City Hall

  • River Hills: mail slot in front door of Village Hall

  • Shorewood: drop box in the parking lot

  • Whitefish Bay: 24-Hour Night Depository located in the entrance of the Village Hall

  • Cedarburg: on the south side of the building next to the doors

  • Grafton: in the parking lot

  • Mequon: next to the doors in the parking lot on the right

Ballots must be received in the clerk's office by 8pm on April 7 (Election Day). Because of uncertainty about the speed of the US Mails, it might be best to put absentee ballots directly into these depositories if possible. Absentee ballots can be requested at late as 5pm on Thursday, April 2. But after tomorrow, any absentee ballot that has not already been mailed to a municipal clerk should be dropped into a depository to ensure that it arrives at the clerk's office on time. (If you still need an absentee ballot but have trouble with completing the request because you can't upload a picture of your photoID, you can mark the box that says you are "indefinitely confined" in box 6 of the form. Then call the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's Voter Protection Hotline at 608-336-3232 for additional help).

There are a few signs of progress in our collective struggle to contain the pandemic of COVID-19 infections. Although Wisconsin is now reporting 1200+ confirmed cases and 20+ deaths, a company that tracks fever data through its technology-enhanced thermometers sees what may be a nationwide flattening of the curve, as a slow-down in the rate of new infections is often called. Today's NYTimes has the story. The account suggests that the ~30 states that have issued "stay-at-home" orders (aka "safer at home" as we know it here) are being successful at slowing the rate of infection. So keep up the good work, people!

For up-to-date and granular information about where there are confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our area, the NYTimes also has really helpful information that is easy to find and to use.

Some of the useful data from that NYTimes interactive: the number of cases in Wisconsin = 1267. Most cases are in Dane County (183 cases, 2 deaths) and Milwaukee County (633 cases, 10 deaths). Ozaukee has 36 cases and 3 deaths so far. Washington County has 34 and Waukesha County 93. Neither of those counties has reported any deaths. Most Wisconsin counties have reported at least 1 case. Remember: these numbers reflect confirmed cases. And where there is a single confirmed case, there are surely many, many more cases that have not been confirmed, either because those who are ill are just toughing it out at home or because testing is still not widespread and is generally reserved for those who need hospitalization.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online has a stream of updates on news about the coronavirus in our area, but because it is updated every few hours, it is difficult to aggregate the data and to figure out where we are at any given time. However, this morning there was one piece of good news that did not appear in the NYTimes: "Milwaukee County reported just 10 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday morning, the smallest batch of new cases the county has reported in more than two weeks" Live coronavirus updates, 7:40am posting, March 31, 2020). One data point, or even two, cannot make a trend. But it's a start!

There's some discussion about whether people should use masks (NOT the medical masks that should be reserved for essential personnel and health care providers) like those made at home whenever they must go somewhere where there are likely to be a lot of other people (see C.D.C. Weighs Advising Everyone to Wear a Mask). You can make your own at home. And you can make some to give to hospitals and other essential personnel who are not engaged in the most intensive care of COVID 19 patients. You can download a printable pattern from the NYTimes. With a sewing machine and a few other supplies, you can also make masks at home to contribute to Froedtert by contacting Norma Gilson. She is willing to pick up the masks you make and deliver them to the hospital. Or you can mail them to her. In any case, all you need to do to get started is to contact her.

Besides staying home as much as possible, hand washing the proper way remains the best defense against this illness (indeed any communicable illness). The internet abounds with videos of how to do a proper job of it. Here's one from Johns Hopkins Medicine. And here's a "purple paint" demo that uses a slightly different method.

Finally, although there's a lot of "wash your hands" advice out there, there's not as much information on just how soap does the job. So for your delight and edification, here's an explanation from Vox.

I didn't even bother to look at the events lists in the online calendar I consult for this weekly newsletter because I want to encourage everyone to STAY HOME. But there may be some virtual events you might want to participate in. You can consult the calendars on our website.


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