Coronavirus in one state (127)

Governor Walz announced a new set of lockdown measures in a televised 26-minute torrent of verbiage last night (video below). The authorities attributed 67 new deaths to COVID-19 in the data released yesterday morning. Fifty-one of these deaths occurred among residents of long-term care facilities. Yet nowhere in his announcement or the following press conference (audio at the bottom) did this subject come up.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Star Tribune health care reporter Jeremy Olson notes in the last paragraph of his story:

Wednesday’s 67 deaths included 51 people who lived in long-term care, residents who were at elevated risk due to their age and underlying health problems. More than 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota have involved people 70 or older, and more than 68% have involved long-term care residents.

And that is that. Governor Walz’s “five-point battle plan” to control the epidemic in nursing homes probably deserves a second look. I think the point deserves emphasis along with the data reflecting the significance of the identified co-morbid conditions among the decedents.

Warming up for yesterday’s lockdown announcement, Governor Walz staged another dog and pony show on Tuesday with guests touched by the epidemic in one way or another, including self-described “light-skinned native woman” Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. I gave up trying to count the straw men raised by each of these guests. Unless one agrees with the orthodoxy and assents to the merits of the edicts imposed in its name by Walz, we are deemed not to care about the impact of the disease. This is an intellectual embarrassment (audio directly below).

Yesterday Governor Walz promulgated Executive Order 20-99. Running 22 pages, the order “Implement[s] a Four Week Dial Back on Certain Activities to Slow the Spread of COVID-19.” It limits social gatherings in private and in public, closes bars, restaurants (except for takeout service), and fitness centers, and severely restricts adult and youth sports for four weeks effective November 20 at 11:59 p.m.

Given the complexity of the executive order, the Department of Health summary is particularly useful. I appreciate the brevity of the first commandment, for example: “Social gatherings prohibited.”

Here is the video of Walz’s speech announcing the lockdown measures. We are in the midst of a regional surge of the epidemic. According to Walz, “masks mitigate risk, even for yourself.” He made no mention of the Danish study to the contrary released yesterday morning, but “it’s the science,” as we all know. While our hospitals are undoubtedly operating near capacity, we bought the used car from Walz in his March 25 lockdown announcement. The car didn’t make it off the lot. The new lockdown order is a somewhat less devastating rerun.

Walz held a call-in press conference last night following his speech announcing the lockdown. I have posted the audio below. Tom Hauser asked a good question at about 6:00. One has to hang in there until the bitter end to hear Walz pronounce judgment: “It is not debatable.”

Blois Olson circulated these handy bullet points following Walz’s speech last night.

• Social Settings: Do not gather with people from other households.

• Restaurants and Bars: Only delivery and takeout.

• Gyms, etc…: Closed

• Indoor events: Closed

• Outdoor events: Closed

• Organized sports (adult & youth): Closed

• Outdoor recreation activities & facilities: Indoor closed. Outdoor with immediate household members only.

• Places of worship, services, weddings, and funerals: Open with guidance

• Reception spaces: Closed

• Campgrounds and charter boats: Open with guidance

• Pools and swim parks: Closed

As we all know, it’s the science.

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