Coronavirus in one state (79)

Over the past two days the authorities have attributed four new deaths (7/28) and nine deaths to (7/29) COVID-19. In yesterday’s report, 7 of the 9 new decedents were residents of long-term care facilities and 8 of the 9 decedents were in their 70’s, 80’s or 90’s. One was in his 50’s. Long-term care residents account for 76.5 percent of deaths attributed to the epidemic.

And yet the beat goes on in the Minnesota Department of Health’s daily press briefing (audio below) as it does in the media nationally. The panic will be sustained as long as Donald Trump remains president. That much I can tell you.

New cases are invoked to sustain the panic. Yesterday’s data included 681 new cases. The median age among those diagnosed has fallen to 36. Because the risk of fatality among the young is so low, this is good. The risk of death remains focused on the infirm elderly. The median age of decedents is 83.

Hospitalizations attributed to the epidemic have risen to a total of 310 with 143 in intensive care. Does this represent a crisis warranting Governor Walz’s continuing exercise of emergency powers and imposition of extreme measures on shifting rationales? In the briefing Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann opined that hospitalizations have increased consistent with the trend of new cases. Kevin Roche responds to my query by email (chart omitted):

There has been a very modest increase in hospitalizations in the last couple of days. There also has been no real increase in cases. The peak was in May. Look at hospitalizations in the last couple of weeks versus the peak period in July, and look at the trend overall. You can see there is a dramatically lower rate of hospitalizations and deaths now. The cases are far, far milder. Just a load of crap.

Governor Walz is expected to hand down his edict on schools today. Blois Olson reports in his daily tip sheet: “People briefed on the plan called it a matrix that will allow school districts flexibility and the state a structure for safety and outbreak management. If cases in a specific community spike, schools could be ordered back to distance learning by the state.”