Coronavirus in one state (159)

My law school classmate Kevin Roche is the former general counsel of UnitedHealth Group and former chief executive officer of its Ingenix division. When it comes to the Covid epidemic, he has mastered the published research and related issues. His Healthy Skeptic site provides a wealth of relevant commentary and analysis that has proved a highly reliable guide to the course of the epidemic over the past year. Kevin’s reliability is striking, and not just by contrast with the political authorities.

Yesterday Kevin summarized and commented on the recent set of questions I submitted to the Minnesota Department of Health and the characteristically evasive answers received in response. Kevin credits me with trying to get accurate information from the department, “which is about as likely as [getting] Joe Biden to speak extemporaneously for ten minutes.” The key word here is “trying.” Kevin observes:

Apparently ain’t going to happen. Scott asked a series of questions about masking, vaccinations and whether telling people they couldn’t change how they lived even if fully vaccinated might not contribute to vaccine hesitancy. The response was a master class in evasion.

There was no real answer to the question of whether not allowing behavior changes might contribute to vaccine hesitation[. I]nstead we were told that Minnesotans understand why we have to keep wearing masks. A complete failure to answer the question of whether they have any evidence that vaccinated people transmit to others.

You can safely assume that they have no data supporting even one case of a vaccinated person transmitting. And we got more gibberish about asymptomatic spread, again with no actual data to support it, other than saying 50% of cases were asymptomatic, which contradicts the CDC.

And that’s not all! Kevin advises me this morning by email of the new MDH study Preliminary 2020 Drug Overdose Deaths. The report is deemed preliminary and comes with the reservation that the data are likely to change when finalized. The department states that the “results throughout the report are indicative, not definitive, of the final 2020 drug overdose deaths.”

What do the results indicate? The Star Tribune story on the study comes with a concise lead sentence (before it gets lost in a welter of misdirection): “The COVID-19 pandemic helped fuel a 27% increase in drug overdose deaths in Minnesota last year.”

The Star Tribune of course omits to mention the futility of the lockdowns promulgated by Governor Tim “tear down this” Walz. The lockdowns were both ineffective and destructive — and the damage done was not only financial. In his message this morning, Kevin adds: “While Keith Ellison is spending tens of millions of dollars prosecuting one cop, drug gangs go unchallenged in distributing deadly poisons.”