Will Cushman - PBS Wisconsin

Will Cushman

email | @Will_Cushman

Will Cushman is an associate editor at WisContext.

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A sidewalk sign reading COVID-19 Vaccine Enter Here stands in front of a building entrance.


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The Delta Outbreak Declines Slowly, More Booster Shots Are Recommended

The state's numbers of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are starting to drop slowly from their early autumn highs, with more protection from the disease imminent as the FDA and CDC recommend more options for fully vaccinated people to get an additional dose and mix-and-match vaccine types.

Friday October 22, 2021

Smoke flows out of of a masonry chimney on a snow-covered roof.


What Wisconsinites Can Do to Lower Heating Bills as Fuel Prices Spike

Households across the state have multiple options for reducing the cost of keeping their homes warm in winter, including direct assistance and incentives for weatherization and efficiency upgrades, depending on income levels.

Thursday October 21, 2021

A COVID-19 vaccination record card with stickers noting two doses sits on a white surface.


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Hospitals Require Vaccines for Staff, More Evidence Shots Work Well

A new round of state data show hospitalizations and deaths are far higher among people who haven't had COVID-19 vaccinations than those who have, one reason health care systems are requiring their staff to get vaccinated.

Friday October 15, 2021

A microscopic image shows round virus particles inside cellular structures.


Why Wisconsin’s Covid Breakthrough Numbers Show the Power of Vaccination

When the state health department compiles figures about people vaccinated for COVID-19 who become infected with the virus, the role of age is paramount in understanding differing impacts across the state's entire population.

Tuesday October 12, 2021

Two people wear medical gowns, gloves, masks and goggles as they prepare to enter a room inside a hallway filled with medical equipment


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Delta Maintains Its Grip as Hospitalizations Remain High

While a wave caused by a coronavirus variant is waning in other parts of the U.S., new cases and hospitalizations are hanging at higher levels in the state as the total death toll passes 8,000.

Friday October 8, 2021

Three hospital workers put on personal protective equipment including gowns, masks and face shields in the hallway of an intensive care unit.


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Hospitals Increasingly Strained as Delta Cases Multiply

More Wisconsinites are receiving intensive care for COVID-19 than at any point since December 2020, while health officials hope newly approved Pfizer vaccine booster shots will cut breakthrough illnesses.

Friday September 24, 2021

Staff members check IDs and proof of vaccine cards of concert-goers outside a venue in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.


Why More Wisconsin Venues Require Covid Vaccinations to Withstand the Delta Wave

In response to artist requests, in the hope of bolstering safety and in the interest of keeping their doors open, larger performance spaces in Milwaukee, Madison and Eau Claire are requiring their audiences to offer proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test in order to attend shows.

Monday September 20, 2021

A door to the Tomahawk schools complex with a sign stating Attention Face Masks Recommended and a painted Welcome Back message.


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: 18 Months Later, the Pandemic Drags On

Schools once again wrestle with masking rules, public health departments return to crisis modes for contact tracing and efforts continue to push vaccination rates higher through incentives and mandates as the Delta variant of COVID-19 advances across the state.

Friday September 17, 2021

A yard sign stating COVID testing with an arrow pointing left stands in front of a canopy with a table underneath and a queue of people in front of a table.


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Vaccine Mandates and a Booster Debate

Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have hit their highest levels in the state since the start of 2021 with even more demand for intensive care, with national and local vaccination requirements growing in response to the pandemic's Delta wave.

Friday September 10, 2021

A nurse prepares a syringe in a storage room with theater costumes hanging in the background.


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The Delta Variant Prompts Fears of Pandemic Deja Vu

Health care professionals and officials are bracing for COVID-19 patient numbers to continue rising in the state’s largest wave of infections in nearly a year as students return to classes.

Friday September 3, 2021

A wolf stands in forest undergrowth with light snow covering.


How Wisconsin’s Wolf Hunt Quotas May Prompt Federal Review

Whether or not wolves remain off the federal endangered species list or receive renewed protections is based on their numbers in the upper Midwest, and DNR policies are set to cut deep into the state's population of the species.

Monday August 30, 2021

Nurses and doctors wearing personal protective equipment walk through a hallway.


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: State Sees Highest Number of ICU Patients Since 2020

Vaccinations are also rising, albeit slowly, as the Pfizer shot receives full FDA approval and political fights over masking and vaccines drag on.

Friday August 27, 2021

Staff applaud a student wearing a face mask walking into a school with a sandwich board sign noting mask required.


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The Delta Surge Disrupts a Third School Year

With the continuing spread of a more dangerous coronavirus variant among the unvaccinated and rise in breakthrough cases, schools around the state are determining what course to take as classrooms take center stage in the political fight over public health policies.

Friday August 20, 2021

A sign on a door reads Mask Policy: We strongly recomment that all customers wear a mask, regardless of vacciation status.


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Hospitalizations Skyrocket with Delta

A nationwide surge of infections driven by an extremely contagious coronavirus variant is prompting hospitals around the state to care for a new wave of patients, nearly all of whom aren't vaccinated.

Friday August 13, 2021

A Public Health Madison & Dane County vaccinator administers an injection.


What’s Next for Wisconsin’s Most Vaccinated Locales as Delta Variant Spreads

Health officials in Dane and Door counties are trying to push local vaccinations even higher as employers are left to set their own vaccine and mask rules in the face of another highly contagious coronavirus wave.

Monday August 9, 2021

A window reads Face coverins recommended unless you're fully vaccinated for COVID-19 — Face coverings are still required where mandated by state or local regulations.


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: CDC Calls for Universal Masking in Schools, Hotspots as Delta Variant Fuels Spike in Cases

New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising quickly in Wisconsin as recently gathered data about the Delta variant prompts anxiety among public health officials while school districts and universities consider safety measures.

Friday July 30, 2021

Narcan kit with medication, gloves and other supplies in bag on table


Overdose Deaths in Wisconsin Soared in 2020 as Pandemic Intensified Opioid Crisis

While fatalities caused by overdoses of opioids and other drugs have been growing for years in the state, numbers surged in 2020 as the coronavirus struck and disrupted social services, prompting emergency response agencies to pursue more harm reduction strategies.

Thursday July 29, 2021

A yard sign next to bushes reads Schedule your free COVID-19 vaccine today with a Walgreens URL.


Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Variants Fuel Rise in Cases, Hospitalizations as Half of State Remains Unvaccinated

State health officials pushed vaccines for eligible kids before school starts and expressed concern about the massive crowds that gathered to celebrate the Milwaukee Bucks' championship amid rapid spread of the Delta variant.

Friday July 23, 2021

Six gray wolves stand on snow-covered and frozen wetlands


The Swelling Scientific Fallout From Wisconsin’s Wolf Hunt

Five months after hunters blew past the DNR's harvest quota, a population study by UW-Madison researchers highlights an additional estimated impact of poaching the species after it lost federal protections.

Monday July 12, 2021

Human cells (in gray) infected and covered with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (in red)


Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The Delta Variant Looms for Unvaccinated People

A more contagious coronavirus strain is rapidly spreading in the U.S., primarily among people who haven't gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, which still includes nearly half of Wisconsinites.

Friday July 9, 2021

A digital traffic sign over a highway reads Slow Your Roll.


Where Traffic Deaths Surged In Wisconsin During the Pandemic

State transportation data from 2020 shows that even while traffic volume fell, crash fatalities spiked as more drivers engaged in speeding and reckless driving, particularly in Milwaukee.

Thursday June 17, 2021

An illustration with two figures from the Wisconsin coat of arms leaning on a shield with a button reading COVID-19 vaccinated.


The Peculiar Divergence In COVID Vaccinations Around Milwaukee’s Republican Hinterland

A link between partisan politics and coronavirus vaccinations at the national level has become increasingly recognized, but a slew of additional factors are playing a role in Wisconsin's largest metro area.

Thursday June 10, 2021

Cracks in dry soil on footpath surrounded by green grass and weeds


Wisconsin Health Officials Launch New COVID Vaccination Push As Backlash Churns

Here & Now Extra: Breaking through pandemic-era divisions and extreme rhetoric by Republican lawmakers poses an ongoing challenge for efforts to vaccinate as many Wisconsinites as possible.

Tuesday June 8, 2021

Arrow-shaped sign reading Free COVID-19 Vaccine points toward doors


Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Pandemic Metrics Plunge, The Last Local Rules Expire

The number of new cases and hospitalizations around the state are dropping to their lowest levels since COVID-19 first emerged, as people once again start gathering in large numbers with an end to public health restrictions.

Friday June 4, 2021

Noon Wednesday: Are We There Yet?


Noon Wednesday: Are We There Yet?

Mask requirements, capacity limits and other COVID-19 constraints are officially lifted as positive cases are reaching their lowest levels in a year. Here & Now reporter Will Cushman discusses the status of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and reaching a new normal.

Wednesday June 2, 2021

A billboard reading Get Vaccinated showing a boxing glove punching a coronavirus viroid illustration is surrounded by farm fields and warehouses.


How Much Higher Are COVID-19 Rates Among Unvaccinated Wisconsinites?

Examining new cases and vaccination levels in all 72 counties around the state reveals how the coronavirus continues to circulate and infect residents who haven't gotten a shot.

Friday May 28, 2021

A plastic box filled with orange buttons that read I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine!


Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Youth Vaccinations, New Mask Recommendations

Approval of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds comes as school boards around the state debate whether to maintain pandemic protocols, while the CDC says fully vaccinated people can stop masking in most settings.

Friday May 14, 2021

Components of computer server motherboard


Foxconn Plans to Make ‘Digital Infrastructure Hardware’ in Wisconsin — What’s That?

Here & Now Extra: Under its revised tax incentives contract with the state, the global electronics giant proposes to manufacture products essential to conducting business and living life in "the cloud."

Monday May 10, 2021

Nurse wearing mask holds a syringe with a COVID-19 vaccine


Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: A New Vaccination Strategy, Border County Cases

The state health department is shifting its vaccine distribution system to an on-demand basis as enthusiasm for shots ebbs and new infections remain stubbornly high in some areas.

Friday May 7, 2021

Coronavirus Vaccinations, Four Months In


Coronavirus Vaccinations, Four Months In

“Here & Now” reporter Will Cushman explains the status of coronavirus vaccinations as COVID-19 cases have spiked in neighboring states and demand for shots start to level off.

Friday April 30, 2021

A vaccinator wearing gloves and mask gives a shot to another person wearing a mask.


Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Diverging Geographies of Vaccinations and Variants

In St. Croix County, a jump in cases among teenagers and a plateauing of demand for the coronavirus vaccine illustrates how the second year of the pandemic is shifting in different places around the state.

Friday April 30, 2021

A hug between a father and young daughter


Refugee Agencies in Wisconsin Anxious for Action to Expand Resettlement

With their clients and families stuck in limbo, advocates for refugees are calling on Biden to follow through on promises to raise the federal cap on new arrivals.

Tuesday April 27, 2021

Front entrance doors and facade of Foxconn factory building in Mount Pleasant


How Much Smaller is the New Contract Between Wisconsin and Foxconn?

The state's economic development agency has announced a new tax incentive package with the Taiwan-based tech giant that is an order of magnitude smaller than the original signed in 2017.

Wednesday April 21, 2021

A nurse with Advocate Aurora Health administers COVID-19 vaccine to a Winnebago County resident at the community vaccination center at the Culver Family Welcome Center on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus on Feb. 19, 2021.


Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Pause on Johnson & Johnson Doses Complicates Vaccination Campaign at Critical Juncture

The pause is forcing some vaccinators to adjust planned clinics this week, though health officials say it won't greatly impact the state's vaccine progress as variants drive ongoing surges in neighboring states.

Friday April 16, 2021

Hands holding bags filled with coronavirus vaccination information


Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Variants Cause Cases to Spike Again As Universal Adult Vaccine Eligibility Begins

The state's weekly average of new confirmed coronavirus infections is at its highest level in two months, with new cases rising most among kids — health officials urge continued precautions but are encouraged by the growing pace of vaccinations.

Friday April 9, 2021

A Wisconsin National Guard member sits at a table at as vaccinators give coronavirus vaccines to patients at other tables.


Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Cases Plateau, Vaccinations Pass 1 Million and No More Mask Mandate

As the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic passes, Wisconsin is seeing stubbornly high case numbers, advancing vaccinations and variants and an end to the statewide mask mandate.

Friday April 2, 2021

Two jumping worms sit atop granular soil.


Jumping Worms Are Eating — And Altering — Wisconsin’s Forest and Garden Soils

Scientists are studying how a subsurface invasive species is changing local ecosystems and are reaching out to gardeners to share methods for stopping their spread.

Thursday April 1, 2021

Collage of the title page of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in Fabick v. Evers and portait of Justice Brian Hagedorn


Wisconsin Supreme Court Confirms Time Limit on Governor’s Emergency Powers

The 4-3 conservative majority on the state's high court ruled the initial emergency order issued by Gov. Tony Evers in response to COVID-19 applied to the pandemic as a whole, and subsequent declarations were unlawful, overturning the statewide mask mandate.

Wednesday March 31, 2021

Bumper stickers reading I got me COVID-19 vaccine #SavingLives shared by the Clark County Health Department


Where Is Wisconsin’s COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Lagging — And Why?

With universal eligibility starting April 5, the pace of coronavirus shots is speeding up everywhere in the state, but rates have been stubbornly lower in Clark, Rusk and Taylor counties.

Tuesday March 30, 2021

A captive wolf stands in a forest clearing.


‘Extreme Disappointment’: Ojibwe Treaty Rights Group Decries Wolf Hunt Process

Planning for the February 2021 wolf hunt was rushed following a court order, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission charges the Wisconsin DNR with neglecting tribal obligations.

Thursday March 18, 2021

A shot with a COVID-19 vaccine is about to be delivered in the arm of a patient.


New COVID Vaccination Eligibility Covers At Least Two-Thirds of Wisconsin Adults

Starting March 29, Wisconsinites 16 and older matching any 20 criteria, including being overweight or obese, or having a variety of chronic diseases, will qualify for getting a coronavirus vaccine.

Thursday March 11, 2021

An illustration of a bar chart with a declining slope superimposed over the facade of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services building in Madison


Why Wisconsin’s COVID Data Is Getting Cleaned Up and What That Means

With confirmed infections dropping, the state Department of Health Services is finding more time to resolve data inconsistencies, making it trickier to track new coronavirus cases and deaths.

Wednesday March 10, 2021

Wolf in profile from still of trail cam


Why the Impact of Wisconsin’s February Wolf Hunt Is So Uncertain

Holding the hunt after alpha wolves have paired up is a recipe for unpredictability.

Tuesday February 23, 2021

Relatives wait at an Appleton airport for the arrival of a refugee


Protected: Federal Policy, Pandemic Intensify a Slowdown of Refugee Resettlement in Wisconsin

Resettlement agencies in the state are preparing for an expected bump in arrivals under a new administration.

Thursday February 18, 2021

Julie Willems Van Dijk sits at table


Second Case of More Transmissible Coronavirus Variant Identified in Wisconsin

A Patient in Waukesha County Was Found To Be Infected with The B.1.1.7 Strain as Officials Work To Expand Surveillance of Genetic Variants

Tuesday February 9, 2021

SARS-CoV-2 virus


WisContext: A Year into the Pandemic, What’s Driving Varied Coronavirus Rates Across Wisconsin?

A Patient in Waukesha County Was Found To Be Infected with The B.1.1.7 Strain as Officials Work To Expand Surveillance of Genetic Variants

Monday February 8, 2021

Finding Enough Vaccine


Finding Enough Vaccine

Wisconsin will expand vaccinations to those over 65 next week, but the larger pool begs the question of whether Wisconsin will receive enough vaccine to inoculate that population. Reporter Will Cushman breaks down what the hurdles will be for the state.

Friday January 22, 2021

Illustration depicting a cellphone and coronavirus misinformation. (Courtesy: Philip Ashby / PBS Wisconsin)


WisContext: COVID-19 Misinformation and the Paranoid Style in Wisconsin’s Pandemic Politics

How False Claims About Public Health Data Are Frustrating Efforts To Fight The Coronavirus

Friday October 23, 2020

novel coronavirus


UW-Madison Virologists See Hope in a Potential Two-for-One Vaccine for Influenza, the Novel Coronavirus

Research currently underway at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could lead to a unique vaccine that provides protection against both the novel coronavirus and influenza, with human trials potentially on the horizon as early as fall 2020. The possibility of a vaccine that offers dual protection against two very different viruses ...

Thursday April 2, 2020

still graphic of curve chart


WisContext: The Urgent Battle to Flatten Wisconsin’s COVID-19 Curve

Research currently underway at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could lead to a unique vaccine that provides protection against both the novel coronavirus and influenza, with human trials potentially on the horizon as early as fall 2020. The possibility of a vaccine that offers dual protection against two very different viruses ...

Friday March 20, 2020



Learn More About the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 and Wisconsin

10 Things to Know About the Outbreak and Public Health in the State

Wednesday March 18, 2020

Noon Wednesday: Wisconsin’s Right-To-Farm


Noon Wednesday: Wisconsin’s Right-To-Farm

Wisconsin has a law on its books making it difficult to bring nuisance lawsuits against farmers. But as farms expand in size, the conflicts amongst neighbors grow as well. We’re talking to Will Cushman from WisContext about Wisconsin’s “right-to-farm” laws and debates over how to regulate these growing farms.

Wednesday October 23, 2019

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Statement to the Communities We Serve

There is no place for racism in our society. We must work together as a community to ensure we no longer teach, or tolerate it.  Read full statement here.