Coronavirus in one state (126)

“Cases,” hospitalizations, and deaths continue to surge in Minnesota as they do across the Upper Midwest. Elderly residents of long-term care facilities and others with significant underlying conditions are at particular risk, although the authorities do not flag the data for reasons that cynics probably understand best. Ninety-four percent of all those whose deaths are attributed to the epidemic had significant underlying conditions; two percent lacked them. I hope all those with such conditions know they need to take look out for themselves. If they do, however, I would give roughly no credit to our public health officials.

Over the past three days the authorities have attributed 35 new deaths (11/14, 27 among long-term care residents), 31 new deaths (11/15, 18 LTC), and 12 new deaths (11/16, four LTC) to COVID-19. According to the Department of Health’s most recent weekly COVID-19 report, the median age of all decedents remains 83, as it has over the many months we have been tracking the data.

Governor Walz joined the MDH press briefing yesterday (video below) to highlight the public health issues. In a preview of coming attractions, MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm urged Minnesotans not to gather for Thanksgiving outside our immediate households. Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann urged college students to reconsider going home for the holiday. The winter high school sports season may also be in jeopardy.

University of Minnesota pediatrician Dr. Cuong Pham made an appearance to articulate the usual themes of blame and inequity in a slightly different key. Abbott Northwestern nurse Kelly Anaas followed up with an emotional performance of the shut up, she explained variety: “You need to believe nurses when we tell you these things are happening.” St. Catherine University Assistant Professor of Nursing Michelle Palmborg was the final presenter. She too seemed to be struggling to hold it together: “Nurses and health care workers are overwhelmed and exhausted…due to the lack of staff and inpatient bed availability.” All in all, the underlying theme is that it is our fault and we had best shut ourselves up at home alone.

In short, this was another installment of the full dog and pony show. Walz put on a classic performance — a performance of the kind that might justify the motto tear down this Walz. Walz exhorted us: “Think about that light at the end of the tunnel.” Thanks, we needed that.

Minnesota Public Radio’s report on the one-hour briefing is here. Yesterday morning MDH officials talked with MPR. The MPR report on that interview is here.

Kevin Roche takes up the theme of increased hospitalizations here. He takes up the theme of the mask mandate here and looks into Minnesota excess deaths here. Kevin provides a useful contrast to the drumbeat of indoctrination and the fight against “the result of the mental illness known as coronamonomania.”

At about 55:30 of the video KSTP TV’s Tom Hauser asked for an updated evaluation of the department’s “5-point battle plan” to combat the disease among long-term care residents. Commissioner Malcolm responded that until recently the program had been a great success. On Tom’s follow-up regarding the high ratio of LTC deaths among all deaths attributed to the disease, Malcolm stated: “I don’t know what the right number would be as a function of the higher risk, greater health conditions…I struggle with what is the right number.”

Quotable quote (Walz): “I’m a cultural geographer by trade.”

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