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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
September 8, 2020

COVID-19 Precautions Helped Limit Cases Linked to Milwaukee Primary

JAMA. 2020;324(10):929. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.16103

High rates of voting by mail and other prevention strategies during Milwaukee’s April primary limited the election-related spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), according to a report by CDC and City of Milwaukee Health Department researchers.

Wisconsin’s primary election occurred 2 weeks after the state issued its stay-at-home order, making it the first state in the country to have in-person voting during a lockdown. To help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 among voters, the CDC in early March published interim guidance for polling places. The City of Milwaukee implemented some of the measures, such as encouraging absentee or early voting to help reduce crowds. Poll workers were provided with protective equipment and training. The city also implemented physical distancing measures and frequent surface disinfection at polling sites. In-person voters were urged to wear face masks and frequently wash their hands.

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