MON AM News: Talking Trade hosts discuss lawsuit filed to block tariffs; Wisconsin Idea at play throughout pandemic

— Prominent Wisconsin companies are among the 3,500 U.S. businesses that have sued the Trump administration over tariffs on more than $300 billion in Chinese-made goods. 

“It really makes you reflect on how much all those duties have affected all of us,” M.E. Dey & Co. President Sandi Siegel said of Wisconsin businesses, such as Mercury Marine and Stein’s Garden & Home.

In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” hosts Siegel and Prof. Ian Coxhead discussed the lawsuit. It followed a federal appeals court decision that Trump administration trade duties on Chinese goods were illegal. 

Siegel added while there’s an up to 30 percent chance of success for the lawsuit, it’s likely to “drag on” for two years with the potential to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

If the companies win the suit, the benefits can go right to their bottom line, she said. “Or will it just help close the gap for the unexpected duties they’ve had through these challenging times.”

The video podcast explores trade issues affecting Wisconsin and the Midwest.

See the show, supported by the Center for East Asian Studies at UW-Madison: 

— The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce has answers to help businesses through economic stress and COVID-19.

The new frequently asked questions resource was developed in collaboration with Milwaukee 7 Regional Partnership, the Medical College of Wisconsin and state and local public health officials. 

See the FAQ document: 

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 

— “The Wisconsin Idea” is the driving principle behind research and outreach at UW-Madison, meaning education should extend far beyond the walls of the classroom. 

For Profs. Bill Hartman and Dietram Scheufele, the Wisconsin Idea has been in play throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hartman, a professor of anesthesiology, told an alumni association virtual event that when the global pandemic began to infiltrate Wisconsin in February and March, UW-Madison “ran right into it, vowing not to rest until the fire had stopped.” 

As the principal investigator for the Convalescent Plasma Program, Hartman has focused on developing novel treatments through clinical trials tied to convalescent plasma, monoclonal antibodies and a vaccine.

“Our consortium started with about eight hospitals, then grew to 40, and then to 100, finally to over 2,700 hospitals worldwide with 15,000 physicians using convalescent plasma and close to 100,000 patients to date,” he said.

Hartman encouraged wearing a mask, washing hands, social distancing and being outside more than inside to mitigate viral spread. But he acknowledged the need for a vaccine to return to life as usual. UW-Madison was the second site in the nation set up for phase three vaccine trials — a program that seeks to reduce infections by 50 percent with an emphasis on minority involvement.

Communication surrounding the work being done by Hartman and scientists alike has posed significant challenges, said Scheufele, a professor of life sciences communication.

“One of our big challenges in COVID was that we did a lot of science in a very short time period under immense public scrutiny,” he said.

The scientific process — moving forward by falsifying initial hypotheses — normally happens behind closed doors but was on public display in the case of COVID-19.

The mistake communicators made was not acknowledging the science would change, opening the process to political attacks, Scheufele said.

Instead of telling people why they are wrong, communicators should engage them on the questions that matter to them, he continued. For many citizens, COVID-19 has been an issue for reasons beyond health. It has been an issue of economic value and personal freedoms.

“Mask wearing has real economic value,” Scheufele said. “Any American not wearing a mask hurts the GDP … and time spent not being able to reopen will cost the economy up to $1 trillion.”

COVID-19 communications challenges can be addressed by speaking to shared values, addressing salient public concerns, presenting the best current evidence and using one’s own biases as tools for behavior change, Scheufele concluded.  

— The Alternative Care Facility at State Fair Park still has no patients as of Sunday, according to the Department of Health Services. 

The West Allis field hospital opened on Wednesday to serve as an overflow facility for hospitals across the state. 

Meanwhile, statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations number 1,090, near Friday’s record count of 1,101 patients. The Wisconsin Hospital Association’s coronavirus data dashboard reports intensive care units are at a record high of 284 patients.

“We continue to work closely with healthcare systems around the state to ensure the healthcare provided at the ACF is a match to the unique needs and treatment plans of each patient,” Department of Administration spokeswoman Molly Vidal said. 

Southeast Wisconsin is operating at over 90 percent of its bed capacity, including ICU bed capacity, according to DHS’ data. Fox Valley and north central Wisconsin are operating at over 80 percent capacity for both hospital and ICU beds.

The ACF patient census tracker will be updated daily and is the primary place for the public to receive updates regarding ACF patient numbers, Vidal said. 

See the tracker: 

— The Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System has been undergoing routine maintenance since Friday evening. 

The upgrade was to improve tools for contact tracing, automate data entry, enhance security features and strengthen the system to accommodate any increase in cases. 

 Accurate reporting of the visualizations and data presented on the DHS COVID-19 data web pages should resume by soon, according to DHS. 

Before the outage, Wisconsin topped its single-day confirmed case count record with 3,861 new COVID-19 cases. The previous record was Thursday’s 3,747 new cases. The new cases brought the seven-day average of daily confirmed cases to a record 3,052, breaking 3,000 for the first time.

The state also reported 21 new deaths due to the virus, bringing the seven-day average to 19 deaths per day, triple that of a month ago. Wisconsin’s COVID-19 death toll was at 1,574 as of Friday.

— UW-Madison will buy half of the energy produced by the largest solar generation facility in Dane County to account for about 5 percent of the school’s electricity use.

Madison Gas and Electric will build the 20-megawatt solar array in Fitchburg in partnership with EDF Renewables. MGE received approval for the project from the state’s Public Service Commission on Oct. 1.

Construction is expected to begin this year, with the project going online by early 2021.

The O’Brien Solar Fields, located on the O’Brien family farm, will provide solar energy to businesses, municipalities and public institutions under MGE’s Renewable Energy Rider. The UW System Board of Regents approved UW-Madison’s participation in the RER program in February.

The array will feature 60,000 bifacial solar panels on about 160 acres and will provide an opportunity for students and faculty to engage in research and take field trips. 

“Investing in local renewable energy, as opposed to simply purchasing renewable energy certificates, reflects our commitment to supporting our community as we seek to become a more sustainable institution,” said UW-Madison Director of Sustainability Missy Nergard.

MGE will own, operate and maintain the O’Brien Solar Fields. In addition to UW-Madison, the utility will partner with the City of Fitchburg, Placon, Promega Corporation, Tribe 9 Foods, Willy Street Co-op and the Department of Administration on the project.

— Incarcerated Medicaid members will have their health care benefits suspended and then re-evaluated before they are released from jail or prison.  

Previously, Medicaid members who became incarcerated had their coverage terminated. This delayed their access to medical and behavioral health care following their release. 

The Department of Health Services and the Department of Corrections have been working with income maintenance agencies and community partners to make this policy change.

The two agencies said delays in care can result in increased negative health outcomes and rates of re-arrest. DHS and DOC cited the Kaiser Family Foundation in saying  incarcerated individuals are more likely to have chronic physical and mental health conditions, serious mental illnesses or substance use disorders.

“This new policy will increase the likelihood of successful re-entry for Wisconsin residents into their communities,” said DHS Secretary Andrea Palm. “Connecting incarcerated individuals to health care and other support services upon their release is critical to breaking the cycles of chronic homelessness, reliance on emergency care, and re-arrest.”


# Marshfield Study Will Track COVID-19 In Rural Communities

# Green County dairy co-op looks for new market after loss of longtime cheesemaker

# Generac in site selection process for another facility 



– Agent asks Undersecretary to consider crop insurance changes 

– Dairy Business Association endorses Milwaukee-area candidates 


– New PPP forgiveness form sparks activity at Associated Bank 


– College Enrollment Down By 5.7 Percent In Midwest According To National Data 


– Wealth creation, profits expose our struggle with economic inequality 


– Wisconsin’s Rural Hospitals Weather Pandemic Better Than Most, But Warning Signs Remain 

– State, Local Health Officials Plan For Mass Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution 


– Snap-on buys former M.G. Design building in Pleasant Prairie 


– Private detectives, a laboratory, a bank — where the Milwaukee DNC spent its millions 

– Wisconsin Democrats Pour $2M Into 6 Key Legislative Races 

– Trump in Janesville: ‘We Win Wisconsin, We Win The Whole Ballgame’ 


– Menomonee Falls medical office buildings sold for over $59 million 

– Former Milwaukee-area Boston Store buildings headed for auction 


– Gathering Place Brewing taps Bay View food hall for second location 

– The United States of Amazon? 


– Harley-Davidson dealers report ‘low double-digit’ percentage sales declines in 3Q: Baird survey 


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