Coronavirus in one state (78)

New deaths attributed by the authorities to COVID-19 are vanishingly low. In the data posted over the past three days, the numbers are five (7/25), three (7/26), and two (7/27). The two deaths tallied yesterday both occurred among residents of long-term care facilities, who now account for 76.6 percent of all deaths attributed to the epidemic. Hospitalizations also remain low.

It should be difficult for Governor Walz to continue one-man rule in Minnesota. It should be difficult to sustain the panic underlying his exercise of “emergency” authority.

However, new cases continue to accumulate among mostly younger demographic groups. We are apparently to be ruled as vassals so long as the disease is spreading. At yesterday’s press briefing (audio below), not a single question even hints at a weighing of costs versus benefits.

Leading off the questions and answer, Pulitzer Prize-winning Star Tribune health care reporter Jeremy Olson sought the basis of the complaints submitted to the authorities in recent days. He turned the answer into his story today. At least he included the most entertaining part of the answer: “The majority of the 80 or so complaints this weekend involved customers or workers not wearing masks, said Kris Ehresmann, state infectious disease director. One involved a worker wearing a Halloween mask rather than a protective face covering.”

I would like to fabricate a cloth face mask for that noncompliant employee. It would feature the thumbnail photo of the governor I use for this series and the motto: “Tear down this Walz!”

Olson’s story includes this previously omitted information regarding Walz’s executive order mandating masks: “Business owners could face $1,000 fines and misdemeanor charges that in extreme circumstances could result in 90 days in jail and $25,000 in civil fines as well as licensure actions. Malcolm said businesses have complied without the need for such penalties.”

Are the penalty provisions of the order lawful? One Minnesota criminal defense attorney argues that they are not, and he has an interesting argument.

The tone of the press briefing is lugubrious and threatening. The level of the questions is low. When it comes to sustaining the panic, the press is fully compliant — as President Trump would say, that much I can tell you.

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