Coronavirus in one state (87)

It is a challenge trying to follow the COVID-19 epidemic in Minnesota through the reported data and the regular Department of Health press briefings. I learned only last week that Governor Walz had banned hydroxychloroquine to treat the disease under paragraph 5 of Executive Order 20-23 this past March, shortly after he promulgated his stay-at-home order on March 25. Walz rescinded paragraph 5 under Executive Order 20-84 last week.

Read all about it in Jon Miltimore’s RealClear Politics column “MN Governor Quietly Reverses Course on Hydroxychloroquine.” Miltimore observes that “it’s unclear” why Walz rescinded paragraph 5 because “[th]ere’s been no announcement or new stories. Local lawmakers told me they had no idea Walz had reversed course.” Not a single question at yesterday’s press briefing (audio below) addressed the subject.

Miltimore adds this note to his report: “Hydroxychloroquine might be politically controversial, but that hasn’t stopped some of its critics from taking advantage of the drug. In a May interview, former presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar admitted her husband was successfully treated with hydroxychloroquine, a medication she had mocked on Twitter.” I don’t recall a single question exploring this issue while Walz’s ban was in effect.

Miltimore’s column usefully collects the research that suggests the efficacy of early treatment of the disease with a drug “cocktail” including hydroxychloroquine. One might add the open letter to Dr. Fauci by Doctors George Fareed et al. to the mix and ask how many lives Walz’s ban might have cost Minnesotans who fell victim to the disease.

It’s a question Governor Walz or Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm is unlikely to be asked by any member of the press in a position to ask it. That much I can tell you.

Contrary to the predictions and projections of authorities, we have experienced no flood of new cases, hospitalizations, or fatalities. Over the past three days, the authorities have attributed six (8/15), 7 (8/16), and six (8/17) new deaths to the epidemic. They attribute a total of two new cases to the three-day rodeo in Effie, Minnesota, that went off in defiance of the applicable mandate limiting the size of gatherings.

On a personal note, I regret to report that I have lost my sense of humor about the abysmal performance of the Minnesota media. Yesterday’s press briefing was laughable, but I’m not laughing.

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