Covid Morgue, RIP

We (Scott, mostly) have chronicled the inept and destructive reaction to covid by Minnesota’s Governor Tim Walz. That response began with a campaign to scare the daylights out of Minnesotans that was second, perhaps, only to what has happened in Australia. A key element of the campaign of fear was the “Minnesota model,” touted by Walz and his minions as the “scientific” basis for the extreme actions they took. Never mind that, as it later developed, the model was constructed by a couple of students over a weekend. If it was made in Minnesota, it must be superior!

The Minnesota model projected that without a draconian shutdown, 74,000 Minnesotans would die from covid. With an extreme shutdown, 50,000 would die. Those projections were the basis for the radical restrictions on our lives imposed by Walz under a never-ending “emergency.” (The emergency finally stopped when even Democrats in the Minnesota House had had enough, and voted to end it.) Of course, it turned out that the model was wildly off the mark, and, having gone through versions 2.0 and 3.0, it has now been quietly shelved and forgotten.

As part of the Walz administration’s campaign to scare Minnesotans into compliance, the state spent millions on a refrigerated fruit warehouse. Why? To turn it into a morgue. Because there wouldn’t be room in the state’s mortuaries for the thousands of bodies that would pile up on account of covid, we needed a facility to house the corpses while they awaited a backlogged burial.

It quickly became apparent that the Minnesota model’s fatality projections were ridiculous, and the morgue, despite having been renovated and prepared for its intended use at considerable expense, would remain idle. Thus, Tim Walz’s refrigerated fruit warehouse won the first-ever Golden Turkey Award. It represented $6.9 million down the drain, and was quietly forgotten–with, needless to say, the complicity of the local, monolithically-liberal press.

Now the Walz administration has thrown in the towel and put the refrigerated fruit warehouse/morgue up for sale. Incredibly, it has tried to spin its desired transaction as a success, since the sale price, if the state gets it, would be a bit larger than the amount initially paid for the warehouse, before the additional dollars the state poured into the facility. The local press has, sheeplike, gone along with the administration’s spin. As though the morgue had been bought as a real estate speculation!

In truth, the state will lose around $1.25 million on the morgue at the listed sale price, as my colleague Bill Walsh reports:

This week the Walz administration announced they are looking to sell the morgue. If you take them at their word, the sale of the morgue means the pandemic is over, with a Walz administration spokesperson saying last year:

At a minimum, the State of Minnesota will keep the building until the pandemic ends. This disease is unpredictable, so it’s prudent to maintain the ability to stand up a temporary morgue until the danger passes.

This would be breaking news if words actually had meaning in this administration. Nonetheless, the building is for sale and taxpayers stand to lose money on our ill-fated purchase.

The $6.9 million cost was outlined in a StarTribune article on May 20, 2020:

In a deal that closed Monday, the state paid $5.5 million for the grocery distribution warehouse and land; operating costs and improvements to ready the building for its new purpose will bring the total to $6.9 million.

With a proposed sale price of $5,650,000, the state stands to lose over a million dollars when the dust settles. But what price should we put on the fear needed to convince Minnesotans to give up our freedoms, close down businesses and schools and force children to wear masks?

The Walz morgue will go down in history as a monument to both stupid spending and poor leadership in a crisis.

In hindsight, the loss on the real estate transaction is the least part of the fruit warehouse scandal. As Bill asks, what price can we put on the fear, the catastrophic shutdown, the tyranny that Walz’s emergency order–which literally directed Minnesotans not to leave their homes without his permission (Emergency Executive Order 20-20: Directing Minnesotans to Stay at Home)–asserted over our lives?

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