Coronavirus in one state (118) [With Comment by John]

Following the data presented in this series and tuning in to the Minnesota Department of Health press briefings, I have found this astounding fact: virtually all deaths attributed to COVID-19 have occurred among decedents with one of seven serious underlying health conditions such as chronic lung disease, severe obesity, and diabetes (see, e.g., Walz executive order 20-55 paragraph 2). In Minnesota, the share of COVID-19 decedents with serious underlying health conditions has hovered around 98 percent.

We know this only due to Tom Hauser’s occasional questions asking for the number at the briefings. Last week, several months since the last update, he asked for the current number. Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann didn’t have it handy. As she fumbled for the number, however, I understood Ehresmann emphatically to state that the percentage was now less than 50. That is what I reported in part 116.

Over the weekend Ehresmann updated Hauser off-line. Hauser disseminated the data via Twitter (below). Ehresmann’s representation to the contrary notwithstanding, the 98 percent number remains essentially unchanged.

I went back to the recording of the October 21 briefing. This is what Ehresmann said (at about 1:00:00 to the end of the recording per my transcription): “I can tell you this in the broadest sense so that everyone can hear this. In the broadest sense in the very earliest days of the pandemic nearly all of our deaths had underlying health conditions and over time we’ve actually seen that decrease…rather than having all the deaths have underlying conditions we’ve had more deaths in individuals without an underlying condition…” Absolute unadulterated baloney.

Lost in the public health blather to which we are subjected on a daily basis is this critical fact. Those with one of the serious underlying health conditions need to be told at every opportunity that they are at risk and advised to protect themselves.

Instead the blather about masks continues. Yesterday Governor Walz made a rare appearance along with Commissioner Malcolm and Ehresmann to amplify the warnings that have served served us so poorly. Asked if they had any data supporting their insistence that Minnesotans are noncompliant with the mask guidance, Walz et al. hemmed and hawed. They have nothing. I have embedded the audio below, as usual.

Kevin Roche has posted an unusually lengthy response to yesterday’s briefing here. Kevin concludes with a plea for candor:

How about some honesty–try this– No one knows why or how this virus spreads so easily or what the pattern of spread is due to. We can try our best to minimize spread but we aren’t going to be very successful. We are really lucky that this isn’t that lethal a pathogen. And, as our Swedish brethren, and there are still lots of Swedish descendants in Minnesota, have taught us, controlling infection is one thing, but overall public health is more important. We have to keep kids in real school, we need to keep people getting health care, we can’t let businesses fail and jobs disappear. And most importantly, my friends, we can’t let ourselves succumb to hysteria and terror. We need to help each other as best we can, we need to be strong, we need to accept that we can’t control everything that happens in life. We will survive.

As Kevin puts it: “You will never hear that from the IB.” For those who haven’t been following this series, I.B. is short for Incompetent Blowhard, as Kevin refers to Governor Walz.

JOHN adds: My organization is running a social media campaign to mobilize support for ending the madness. Here are a couple of our ads:

They link to this post.