Coronavirus in one state (72)

The authorities attributed 8 new deaths to COVID-19 yesterday. One of the decedents was in his 100’s. I have yet to see a story profiling one of the centenarians lost to the disease. I think a story or two along these lines would be useful (more on this below). The total of all decedents has reached 1,518.

Five of the 8 new deaths occurred among residents of long-term care facilities. LTC deaths account for 1,180 of the total attributed to the virus. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s is 77 percent of all deaths.

The daily briefings conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health continue on a Monday / Wednesday / Friday schedule. I have embedded the audio of yesterday’s briefing below. Having tuned into these briefings over the past few months, Kevin Roche asks a good question: “What Is the Plan?” I think the plan is to extend Governor Walz’s one-man rule over our daily lives indefinitely.

The last question asked at yesterday’s briefing elicited death rates among the decadal age distributions reflected in the data. The answer begins at about 38:00 of the audio. For ages birth through 19, the state has recorded 0 deaths. This should be headline news in connection with the deliberations over possible school re-openings.

Here are the fatality rates conveyed by Infectious Disease Division Director Kris Ehresmann as I took them down for the rest of the age distribution: 20-29/.02 percent, 30-39/.13 percent, 40-49/.31 percent, 50-59/1.36 percent, 60-69/5.47 percent, 70-79/15.26 percent, 80-89/30.87 percent, 90-99/44.48 percent, 100+/58 percent.

The data here are not surprising but they are stunning. Let them issue the appropriate warnings, let them regulate the congregate care settings, and let the rest of us look out for ourselves. To respond further to Kevin’s question, however, that is not the plan. That much I can tell you.

In the sworn statement submitted to the court in my lawsuit against MDH for access to the conference calls, senior MDH press officer Michael Schommer explained that he cut me out of the calls on April 27 after consultation with Governor Walz’s office. According to Schommer, he decided “to limit access to the calls to reporters from major media organizations who meet the Department’s long-standing criteria for inclusion on the small distribution list[.]” I find it of interest that among the reporters submitting questions on yesterday’s call was one from the Mahnomen Pioneer. It’s a weekly with a stated circulation of 2,000.

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