Coronavirus in one state (38)

In their update to the data yesterday the state authorities reported 23 new deaths attributed to the virus, bringing the total to 614. Nineteen of the 23 new deaths occurred among residents of long-term care facilities, bringing the total of LTC deaths attributed to the virus to 501 and raising the share of all such deaths to 81.5 percent, by my calculation.

The age demographics of the new deaths more or less followed the pattern. Of the 23 new decedents, six were in their 90’s, 9 were in their 80’s, four were in their 70’s, one was in his 60’s, and three were in their 50’s. The median age of all decedents remains 83.

Today is a big day in lockdown. Governor Walz is expected to extend his shutdown order for two to four weeks. Lord help us. He will not stop the madness. He is committed to it.

Yet according to one of his brain trust whom Walz featured at a recent briefing — former state epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, now at the University of Minnesota — 60-70 percent of us will contract the virus regardless of the extreme measures undertaken to slow it down. “It surely won’t slow down until it hits 60 to 70 percent of the population, he says to anyone who will listen, including Governor Walz.

Why the statewide lockdown?

The Department of Health is holding a press briefing at 11:00 this morning on Minnesota Model 3.0. The updated version of the model will be used to support Walz’s extension of his shutdown order. That much I can tell you. Learning about the briefing indirectly, I have requested inclusion even though the department has completely cut me off.

I await a response to my Data Practices Act request disclosing why they have cut me off. The MDH press officers refuse to respond to my inquiries and aren’t in any hurry to comply with the legal requirement of disclosure. It should take them about five minutes to round up the relevant documents.

Yesterday’s daily briefing was run by the Department of Health and limited to 45 minutes (audio below). Critical questions with any insight are in short supply.

UPDATE: Considering the likely extension of the lockdown in some form that Walz is to address tonight, well-connected observer Blois Olson writes in his Morning Notes: “June is right around the corner and Minnesotans in every corner of the state [are] peering to see what Walz will do. Minnesotans want to win, but they are used to losing.”