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I Was Serious When I Said There Are Two Separate Epidemics in Minnesota

By April 25, 2020Commentary

Okay, this is the danger of doing math in your head, as I was re-reading this it became apparent that it is even worse than I thought.

When I suggested in a post yesterday that there were two separate epidemics in Minnesota, I was very serious.   The epidemic has a radically different course for the general population as one group and a different one for the nursing home and other long-term care residents.  There are 5,600,000 people living in Minnesota.  About 80,000 of these live in nursing homes and other senior group settings.  So far, there have been 221 deaths in the state.  Over 150 of these have been of residents of those long-term care settings and as the days go by that proportion gets higher and higher.  No Minnesotan under the age of 50 has died, despite being almost half of all positive test results.  The state doesn’t make it easy to get the actual numbers so you can’t figure out exact rates without a little more detail.  But let us assume that 150 long-term care residents have died.  That is 150 out of 80,000 for a rate of .19%.

For the rest of the population, (and I am putting more deaths, 71, in this bucket than have occurred) the rate is .001%.  Make sure you understand that, it is not .001 it is .001%.  If there were 100,000 people from the general, non-nursing home population in a room, of all ages, 1 will have died of coronavirus disease, and that 1 would inevitably have had serious pre-existing conditions.  That is like filling the Vikings stadium, infecting everyone, and no one died.  If you are healthy and under the age of 60 in Minnesota your risk of death is currently zero.  That might change slightly as the epidemic proceeds, but let’s say it rises ten times, that is a total of 700 non-long-term care residents who die.  Interestingly, that is about where I think the model Minnesota uses, with updated parameters, will come out.  How many are going to die from the effects of the lockdown?  It will be at least that many.  These numbers might change your perception about what the right course of action is.

For the nursing home population, your risk is hundreds of times higher than the general population.  But the head of the Health Department says this is just like the flu, that population always bears the brunt of an infectious disease.  If that is true, why are we shutting everything down?  In fact, the only real epidemic in Minnesota is among long-term care residents.

Meanwhile the Governor is scaring the hell out of all Minnesotans by telling them how dangerous it is to go to work or to be out in public.  There is no danger.  But the state can’t seem to do a thing to protect those that are at much higher risk.

What more do you need to see to conclude that it is insane to do what we are doing.  We should be protecting the vulnerable and letting the rest of the state go back to work and normal life.  The Governor is misleading Minnesotans at best and destroying all of our lives in the process.

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Deb says:

    The “anything to sell papers” Strib, just days ago, insinuated blame on care facilities for deaths caused by a combination of a deadly virus and our deaf, blind, and dumb, state government! I, and many others in this sector of the healthcare field, have been BEGGING for attention and assistance in protecting our most vulnerable citizens – the elderly and frail – for several weeks!. We had to sew our own masks at first, and even now are rationing some PPE. How has our government helped?? By piling on more guidelines and regulations!!! 70 PERCENT OF THE COVID-19 DEATHS IN MN HAVE BEEN RESIDENTS OF CARE FACILITIES!!! We need to PROTECT these people!

  • Andrew Burke says:

    Wow! You are horrible at math. Dividing the total number of deaths outside of elderly facilities by the remaining population of the state regardless of whether they have been reflected in order to find your bogus death rate. So transparently disingenuous. Im sure you will get plenty of clicks by the millions of meat heads out there.

  • Robert Chapin says:

    And keep in mind that, “flattening the curve” means, by definition, that the same amount of people are going to get the disease and die of it whether we’re locked in our houses or not. It’s just to spread it out more so that the healthcare professionals are not overwhelmed.
    And, so far, we have…less than 80. After a month.
    That’s not a flat curve. It’s a flatline, just like our economy.

  • Tom Blumer says:

    It’s even worse when you realize that 65 percent of the deaths are in one county (Hennepin), and that the death rate in the rest of the state is a miniscule 22 per million as of Sun. afternoon, Apr. 26.

    That point needs far more emphasis than it is receiving, even from the Powerline guys who I would have expected to catch this.

  • Kate Karnopp says:

    How do you suggest that healthcare workers take care of the elderly when they are allowed to go and fro through the multitudes of the merely sick? Are your elders that insignificant to you? I think you’ll find that there are many people in hospital under the age of 60 who without that hospitalization would have died. It’s true that the elderly and the infirm who get the disease are less likely to survive, but 95-year-old’s have walked out of hospitalizations. If we allow visitors, family, and healthcare workers to walk about freely they will freely spread it into the places the most vulnerable live. That would then be known as genocide.

  • George Sparks says:

    At some point, people have to wake up to the fact that the globalist is trying to reel in a one world government. The government is not our friend! Wake up!

  • The bio here says “written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry”. Wow! I hope those years are behind us now, because I’m quite sure that I wouldn’t want Mr. Roche working on anything health related for me.

    Let us start with the bold statement – “If you are healthy and under the age of 60 in Minnesota your risk of death is currently zero.” First of all, last time I checked, the virus was in other places. And in other places, people under the age of 60 died. In fact, the youngest person to die in Minnesota (as of 04/26) was 44. ( So, this statement is false. The chance is greater than zero.

    Next, let’s talk about hospital utilization, because Mr. Roche ignores these numbers completely in his brief and incomplete statement. The state has 235 ICU beds around the state. That number is based on historical usage. People need these beds for operations, procedures and other health related needs. As of yesterday, almost half (115) of those beds were consumed by COVID-19 patients. That number is *AS IMPORTANT* as deaths, because there could be secondary effects by lack of access to ICU beds. We don’t actually know the breakdown of people using these beds, but the age range on the MN DOH website says at least one 16 year old has been put into the ICU from COVID19.

    I have a 16 year old child. I can imagine if I followed Mr. Roche’s advice and couldn’t access health care because the ICU beds were clogged. I would be so angry.

    Finally, I think it’s interesting that Mr. Roche ignores reality. In places where factories stayed open, the infection rate was staggering. There are outbreaks of more than 100 people in Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota. Many of those people will recover – some will be very sick – some will (and have) died. Some of those people will infect the elderly, who will die. Those are people’s mothers and fathers and aunts and uncles. Why are their lives so meaningless? What is our responsibility to those people?

    Finally, “What more do you need to see to conclude that it is insane to do what we are doing.” (That is a copy/paste. Mr. Roche’s lack of care in his blog writing is indicative of the quality of his health analysis, I’m afraid. Fast and not very thoughtful.) What solution are you proposing? What are my responsibilities to you if you get infected? What if you infect other people?

    There are no details here. The premise is wrong. The grammar is bad. The author is ignoring reality. And there are many other aspects to the disease BEYOND a death rate.

  • Malia Hilden says:

    Restricting your analysis to just Minnesota does us all an injustice. Across the U.S., across the world, people of all ages have died. While the elderly population has been hit the hardest, the rest of us are not immune with the youngest death in the United States being recorded at 4 months of age. (And it is interesting and disheartening to know that both of this child’s parents worked in the health care industry!) You are not looking at the whole picture, you are only presenting facts that support your position while ignoring those that do not – much more typical of an attorney defending a client, not a scientist presenting data.
    Furthermore, an epidemic or in this case a pandemic is NOT defined by deaths but by contagion. COVID-19 is one of the most contagious diseases the world has seen, right up there with the Spanish Flu, SARS or other coronaviruses. Your article does NOT discuss the number of cases which demonstrates that COVID-19 has been found in every age group. Once again you are skewing the facts to serve your own premise rather than providing all of the facts. But then why would you since they prove your premise to be false?
    Sell your Kool-Aid somewhere else. I’m not buyin’

  • Kirk says:

    Who does you think is infecting the elderly and vulnerable? The ignorance that it takes to write something like this AND think you’re helping is astounding. You are the poster boy for Dunning-Krueger.

  • Carlos says:

    Antibody testing in Germany, New York, and L.A. county, is showing overall death/infection rates of 0.1-0.4% — much lower than the hysteria-inducing modeling suggested.

    Old people need to be protected. We should all prevent spread by washing hands, isolating sick people, limiting contact with others, etc. Duh.

    But the idea we should shut down our private sector is insane. More people will die/suffer from the shutdown (starvation, mental health issues, addiction, loss of livelihood, etc) than from COVID.

  • Skeptically Skeptic says:

    In the week since this article appeared we went from 221 deaths to 419. That’s just over 23/day. Without the flattening of the curve it would undoubtedly be higher.

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