The Wisconsin Economic and Mental Health Experiences of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Reka Sundaram-Stukel

Executive Summary:

The COVID-19 shock is like no other. The effects of the pandemic have been crippling to the labor force globally and especially in the U.S., which has suffered the worst hit with 7+ million people infected. For some segments of the population the effects of COVID-19 go beyond the containment measures and threaten security in key areas of wellbeing: food, shelter, income, and mental health. The primary purpose of this report is to examine these threats to human wellbeing and suggest potential pathways for economic and mental health stimulus that will aid faster recovery.
Wisconsin has had 278,843+ confirmed cases with its seven-day average reaching 5,828+ on November 10th and the infection rates are still climbing. Most containment measures have now moved to voluntary enforcement making the likelihood of being exposed to the virus greater, which has an impact on economic and psychological wellbeing. Business are open with the safety guidelines of masking, physical distancing, and remote work arrangements, however, there are still economic fallouts to consider. In this report I will focus on the threats to– food, employment, housing, and mental health security experienced by Wisconsinites for the weeks between April 23rd and July 21st. While our cases have surpassed these early days of the public health emergency to a more severe phase of the pandemic with a rising threat to healthcare industry’s capacity to meet this challenge, hindsight maybe useful in eliciting cooperation from Wisconsinites. The secret to mitigating a crisis of this magnitude is orderly collective cooperation.

Read Full Report