Coronavirus in one state (18)

Deaths in Minnesota attributed to COVID-19 rose to a total of 160 yesterday, including 18 new deaths. The number of new deaths is actually 17 insofar as one was reported in error, according to Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm at yesterday’s daily briefing. Malcolm reported that 14 of the 17 new deaths occurred among residents of long-term care facilities. Not surprisingly, the 17 new deaths included three people in their 90’s, 9 in their 80’s, two in their 70’s, and four in their 60’s. The median age of decedents in Minnesota is 83.

The combination of old age and a preexisting medical condition in a congregate care setting marks the population at high risk of mortality as a result of the virus. The rest of us should be able to fend for ourselves.

One had to stay tuned in to the briefing’s last few minutes for data I can find nowhere else. Of the 160 deaths to date in Minnesota, 113 are associated with long-term residential care. Is it necessary to lock down the state to protect the at-risk population? My notes reflect that Malcolm made these points:

It’s important to track fuller picture of all cases including hospitalized.

There are “lots” of patients hospitalized in serious condition not associated with long-term care.

We still think the lockdown is important…the potential for rapid spread still exists…the virus represents a broad population-wide risk.

Please note that Minnesota counts 237 patients hospitalized with the virus as of today while the hospitals are empty and major health care providers are laying off and furloughing employees.

Yesterday’s briefing also included another recital of bafflegab about the model on which the state projects some 22,000 deaths due to the virus under the current regime. Something here does not compute. Kevin Roche gets inside the model here (part 1) and here (part 2).

Governor Walz ordered the current lockdown regime on March 25 (video below). He justified it in remarks that cited 74,000 possible deaths in Minnesota as a result of the virus. He went further; the number might actually be “upward” of 74,000. His analysis, he asserted, was based on “the best data possible.” This was by any stretch a gross absurdity. Since then Walz has silently abandoned his stated rationale while sticking with the program. That doesn’t compute either.