Coronavirus in one state (21)

Minnesota added 21 new deaths attributed to COVID-19 in the nursing home crisis that seems to be afflicting the state. The 21 new deaths make for a total of 221. The median age of decedents remains 83.

According to the information provided by Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm at yesterday’s daily press briefing cum soap opera, 18 of the 21 new death occurred among residents of “long-term care facilities,” i.e., nursing homes or assisted-care living facilities. One of the decedents was in his 100’s, three were in their 90’s, six were in their 80’s, 7 in their 70’s, two in their 60’s, and two in their 50’s (“with significant underlying conditions). By my reckoning, elderly residents of “long-term care facilities” account for 75 percent of the state’s fatalities attributed to the virus.

The age range of decedents now extends from 50-109. The oldest lady or gentleman included in yesterday’s new deaths must have been 109 (up from 104). See the Minnesota Department of Health Situation Update (screenshot below). For some reason Malcolm withheld that poignant detail from us. The story would be worth a sidebar in the Star Tribune’s coverage if the paper were worth a damn.

Try to extract the relevant information from the Star Tribune’s verbose and voluminous virus-related coverage. This is the best you can to today, courtesy of Pulitzer Prize-winning health reporter Jeremy Olson: “COVID-19 continues to be more severe for people who are elderly and have underlying health conditions. The youngest death so far was in someone aged 50. The median age of all deaths is 83. On Thursday, state health officials confirmed that 20 of 21 deaths reported that day involved long-term care residents.” Query whether the Star Tribune really wants readers to understand the nature of the crisis that has resulted in the economic devastation of the state.

Another crisis that the Star Tribune would prefer readers not get riled about is the one afflicting our hospitals and health care systems throughout the state. In the most recent example, we have “COVID-19 fallout: HealthPartners to furlough 2,600 workers.” Subhead: “Allina, North Memorial also reduce hours as elective surgery ban continues because of virus.”

And yet, for all our sacrifices, we are now advised that some 65 percent of state residents will contract the virus as the constraints of the lockdown are removed. This according to former state epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, now at the University of Minnesota, who is in the middle of the planning and projections heeded by Governor Walz. Osterholm estimates that perhaps five percent have been exposed so far.

What’s it all about? It’s not clear to me.

Those in search of clarity would not have found it at yesterday’s daily briefing. On the agenda were remarks by one 10-year-old elementary school student, one high school senior, and two teachers. I’m not sure what purpose they were intended to serve, but 10-year-old Claire Murphy provided a brutal contrast with Lt. Governor Peggy Flannagan, also on the agenda. Flannagan is a juvenile leftist of the AOC variety. Young Claire sounded like the adult in the virtual room. I invite interested readers to listen in if you can take it (recording below).