The five states of the Upper Midwest–Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota–are similar in many ways, including demography, climate and history. But their politics are diverse, as has been reflected in their responses to the Wuhan virus. South Dakota’s Governor Kristi Noem has declined to order her constituents to stay home and has not closed any businesses, while she has encouraged voluntary safety measures. Minnesota’s feckless Governor Tim Walz, on the other hand, has ordered one of the nation’s most stringent shutdowns. As you would expect, Noem has been excoriated for her position on the virus, including by the national press that normally pays no attention to South Dakota, while Walz has been lionized.
If you have been reading Scott’s Coronavirus In One State series, you know that Walz’s regime has been farcical. He has managed to destroy his state’s economy, while in the meantime failing to protect Minnesota’s nursing home and assisted living residents, who have suffered 80% of the state’s COVID fatalities.
At the American Experiment web site, my colleague Isaac Orr examines the five Upper Midwestern states and finds that Minnesota has both the highest unemployment rate and the worst COVID-19 death rate in the region. Heckuva job, Timmy!
Nearly 625,000 Minnesotans have filed for unemployment since mid-March, and every day seems to bring new headlines of small businesses that will not survive the Coronavirus shutdown. Minnesota now has the highest unemployment rate of any of our neighboring states, according to the Tax Foundation. Despite the highest rate of unemployment in our area, Minnesota also has the distinction of having the highest COVID-19 death rate among these states, as well.
In other words, it appears Minnesota has the worst of both worlds.
This map shows unemployment rates, state by state:
Note that South Dakota, by virtue of not destroying its own businesses, has the nation’s lowest unemployment rate.
This map, produced by National Public Radio, shows Wuhan fatalities and death rates. It is a day or two old, and Minnesota’s fatalities now stand at 508:
So, as Isaac pointed out, Governor Tim Walz has achieved the exacta of misery: Minnesota has both the highest unemployment rate and the highest COVID death rate in its region. South Dakota, on the other hand, has both the lowest unemployment and the lowest death rate. Minnesota’s per capita COVID death rate is 2 1/2 times that of South Dakota. An observer afflicted with common sense might infer that shutdown orders are a poor idea, and compliment Governor Noem on her successful policy. Rest assured, though, that no member of the national or local press corps will succumb to such logical thinking, even for a moment.