The Minnesota Department of Health held its 100th COVID-19 press briefing yesterday as I reach the 100th installment of this series. On April 27 the MDH silently expelled me from the briefings without notice or explanation — and refused to tell me why. What happened?
After obtaining Governor Walz’s response to my Data Practices Act request seeking the answer, I filed the lawsuit against MDH officials pending in federal court. Judge Donovan Frank has denied their motion to dismiss the lawsuit. This morning the parties will appear with counsel before Magistrate Judge Becky Thorson via Zoom for a settlement conference. Check back tomorrow for an exclusive Power Line update on what happened.
In the data released over the past two days, fatalities attributed to the epidemic in Minnesota continue at an extremely low level: five new deaths (9/15, two in long-term care facilities) and seven new deaths (9/16, three LTC). LTC deaths account for 72.5 percent of all fatalities attributed to the virus. Hospitalizations also persist at a low level (244 total, 136 in intensive care).
Participation in the press briefings has dwindled to a point where MDH approved reporters ran out of questions to keep it going yesterday. Toward the end of the briefing at about 34:00, Star Tribune reporter Jeremy Olson asked whether we will ever see Minnesota Model 4.0. Commissioner Malcolm hemmed and hawed, citing other models consulted by the department. She nevertheless assured us that Model 4.0 is coming soon.
As for Minnesota Models 1.0-3.0, each of which was rolled out with great fanfare, it is best not to look back. The subject is an (unacknowledged) embarrassment. Thus Malcolm’s audible desire to downplay its importance.