Coronavirus in one state (83)

Fatalities attributed to COVID-19 continue at an extremely low level in Minnesota. Over the past two days the authorities have attributed 7 (8/6) and four (8/7) new deaths to the epidemic. The median age of decedents is 83 (per the Department of Health’s weekly report dated 8/6). Of the 1,640 deaths attributed to the epidemic, 1,241 — 75 percent — have occurred among residents of long-term care facilities.

Long-term care facilities are experiencing a renewed outbreak of cases. The ladies of the sad countenance attributed the increase to infections contracted by staff outside the facilities and then brought inside.

There is only so much they can do to prevent exposure from the community. We’re apparently not doing our part. The ladies accordingly poured on their disapproval of the populace in their press briefing yesterday (audio below). “People are getting exposed [from outside the facilities],” state epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield announced. “I think you can appreciate the differences we are observing,” she asserted.

Listen to her. She herself shows exposure to Nurse Ratched. The details provided by Dr. Lynfield were skimpy and the follow-up questions were few.

Yesterday’s briefing produced a classic moment. In her introductory remarks (at about 12:00), Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm warned (again) of the Sturgis apocalypse. She asked (again) those who are attending the event in South Dakota this weekend to quarantine themselves when they return home to Minnesota.

KARE 11 reporter Karla Hult followed up with a question (at about 26:00). She asked how the press is to distinguish the Sturgis bikers’ rally from the massive protests that followed George Floyd’s death on May 25. “I wanted to give you the opportunity to address the distinctions between these two circumstances,” Hult stated, “so that we can respond to those [who are pushing back] on social media.” That’s the spirit!

After a deep breath, Malcolm wound into her response:

Well, I think certainly what has changed since those earlier days is a much, much greater degree of community transmission that we know of. That’s just a documented fact that we’ve got a very significant amount of community spread now and much more awareness of how much is spreading through social contacts of various types and the degree of just concern about just the level of interaction that there is and spread that there is.

So our whole community is just at a very different point than we were in the early spring when, yes, or late spring, excuse me, we certainly were seeing cases at that point but the significant difference was most of the transmission was coming from known sources of outbreak, you know, in congregate care settings or in workplace settings that, yes, indeed, did spread into the community, but the point of origin was a little more easy to identify. So we’re just in a different spot now with a much more generalized community risk than where we were before.

I throw in the towel. No mas!

Dr. Lynfield added some meaningless patter to Malcolm’s word salad. MDH’s Karen (oh, yeah) Martin identified social gatherings as the problem. “I think there’s a certain level of COVID fatigue going on where people may not be as vigilant as they had been in previous months,” she noted.

We’ve got the COVID fatigue blues. That explains a lot.

“Thank you so much for that,” Hult responded. Perhaps after Hult works out a translation, we can look forward to her dissemination of the “distinctions” on social media.