Coronavirus in one state (86)

Deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Minnesota peaked at the end of May, nearly three months ago (see the deaths data table at the MDH Situation Update for COVID-19). The authorities have nevertheless regularly warned us that deaths are a lagging indicator. According to the authorities, deaths would ramp up again in light of an increased number of new cases, among other things.

Yesterday, for example, the authorities attributed 8 new deaths to the epidemic and six of the 8 occurred among residents of long-term care facilities. As the old (Vietnam) antiwar crowd used to urge, we can declare victory and withdraw. War is over if you want it, but they don’t want it.

It’s almost enough to make an auditor of average intelligence wonder if they know what they’re talking about. Unfortunately, no recent question at the press briefings conducted by the Department of Health has explored the issue. The relative inanity of the briefings continues unabated. Kevin Roche reviews yesterday’s proceedings here.

At about 21:00 of the audio recording below, Minnesota News Network’s Bill Werner asked how Minnesota compares to its neighbors. Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann and state epidemiologist Ruth Lynfield were on hand to respond. They provided numbers comparing Minnesota (favorably) with Illinois and Michigan. How about any state that actually neighbors Minnesota? Lynfield didn’t quite get there in her response to Werner.

Werner followed up with a question about Wisconsin. Answer: we don’t compare favorably — she gave the numbers — but that might be because of our superior number crunching. Really. Kevin adds: “[N]one of Minnesota’s actual ‘neighboring’ states has worse statistics than ours, so I can understand your eagerness to go several hundred miles to the east to find one.”

But wait! Kevin has more: “[Y]ou may have wanted to think that through more carefully; Michigan and Illinois are a troubling comparison. Both states had earlier and stricter lockdowns than Minnesota did, including much earlier mask mandates. So tell us, oh great and powerful Oz, how in those circumstances did they end with worse epidemic statistics than Minnesota?”

Kevin separately reviews a study of lockdowns here. Kevin links to a new paper on lockdowns sponsored by the OECD. In an email to me last night Kevin noted: “Very credible set of researchers, obviously a credible sponsor. Basically said the primary reason lockdowns were ordered was herd mentality among governments, not a rational response to the situation in a particular country.”

Let me add one more time that those conducting these briefings should identify the COVID-19 comoribid conditions and warn those with such conditions to take precautionary measures. They could then set the rest of us free to look after ourselves, if only they didn’t prefer one-man rule.

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