Coronavirus in one state (47)

Minneapolis boy mayor Jacob Frey is concerned that Governor Walz is enjoying all the action. He means to get in on it. Frey has now ordered face masks to be worn by those over the age of 2 inside all places of public accommodation, effective next week. Noncompliance is subject to a $1,000 fine.

Who was that unmasked man? We are about to find out. The rest of us will avoid places of public accommodation in Minneapolis and tell Mayor Frey to shove it. I could write the Star Tribune editorial that will support this imposition in my sleep tonight.

Minnesota reached a new daily high of 32 deaths attributed to COVID-19 yesterday, bringing the total to 832. (The previous daily high was 30.) Twenty-eight of the 32 new deaths — 87.5 percent — occurred among residents of long-term care facilities, bringing that total to 663. Eighty-two percent of all deaths attributed to the disease in Minnesota to date have taken place in nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities.

The age breakdown of the new decedents followed the usual pattern. Twelve were in their 90’s, 12 were in their 80’s, six were in their 70’s, one was in his 60’s and one in his 50’s.

At yesterday’s daily press briefing, Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm declared that progress was being made in the Walz administration’s “5-point battle plan” (that’s what they call it) to address the nursing home crisis, as I’ve been calling it since early in this series. Nevertheless, we haven’t yet seen progress in the numbers or even asked what took the authorities so long to notice this particular problem.

I have posted the audio of yesterday’s press briefing below. It runs only 33 minutes. Not a single question addressed the nursing home crisis, which has become a national scandal. One question posed to the assembled officials asked them to elaborate on their “fears” over the possibility that church services may resume in a fashion that defies the applicable Walz diktat. The state of mind on display by the press is sheepish at best. No discord breaks the circle love.

Ninety-eight to 99 percent of all deaths attributed to the disease in Minnesota have occurred among the physically compromised populations in congregate care settings and among others with significant underlying medical conditions, according to the data provided by these officials. The medical conditions are identified in Walz Executive Order 20-55 as respiratory disease, severe obesity, diabetes, and so on. If I were conducting these briefings instead of being excluded from them, I would identify these conditions at the top of each briefing and warn those with one or more of the conditions of the risks they face. That, however, is not Minnesota Way we have heard so much about from Governor Walz.

At about 25:45 of the audio recording Infectious Diseases Division Director Kris Ehresmann offers a comment about those with serious underlying medical conditions in the context of the governor’s unconstitutional church shutdown. This too has made Minnesota a national disgrace, but that’s not how Ehresmann sees it.

Ehresmann meditates (my transcription): “One of the things that has been discussed in the place that I worship is the concern that even if they could open up, their concern is for members who are in vulnerable groups who would so want to be a part of the community that it would be too much of a pull, and so we’d get people who would be particularly at risk that would want to attend and I think that I’ve appreciated that perspective. And for me that’s been important to keep in mind, you know, what may seem to be okay for a certain segment of the population could have devastating consequences for others and so to be willing to consider that need higher than our own [sic].” This is the Minnesota Way we have heard so much about from Governor Walz.

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