More on the Governor’s slick press briefings.
Thursday’s was depressing, just more of the nonsense being peddled about being data driven and protecting people from “danger” and we are all in this together. Yada, yada, yada. (Slide Deck) (Video) He trotted out a cute little slide deck with dials that will show us all how safe or unsafe certain activities are. Let me just point out a few of the inconsistencies. He says he cares about health care workers and first responders. His orders have resulted in thousands if not tens of thousands of health care workers being laid off. He talks about saving lives in one breath, and in another says we are all going to get the virus and he is just protecting the system from being overwhelmed. He said “everything has tradeoffs” in regard to the economic damage, but he never, ever considered any analysis of what the harms his order would cause were. He wants people to live “healthy, safe and happy lives” and then admits that the orders have completely disrupted people’s lives and are causing extensive mental health problems among other things. He says the health experts will determine when the economy opens up–I thought he was the Governor and the leader.
The most revealing moment of the briefing was when Commissioner Malcolm was asked about the nursing home deaths. She said that it was just like flu every year, the same population is vulnerable. If this is like flu, I don’t recall that we shut down the state every year.
Friday’s briefing was all about the school closure for the rest of the year. A lot of hot air and that is it. Trying to cover up for the fact that almost no students are getting any kind of an education. The Governor may want to check what is happening in the states where schools remained open or have been reopened. Or check Sweden. No surge in cases, no issues at all. Children aren’t at risk and they aren’t major transmission agents. So what are parents supposed to do, some still have jobs, although the Governor is working at getting rid of all those. They are supposed to be teaching their children but many are ill-equipped to do that and are working. Many children are more at-risk at home than they are at school. This is a disgraceful joke.
Here is what apparent from the briefings. The Governor knows he screwed up and over-reacted; he is beginning to get pressure over what he has done to education, to jobs, to people’s lives. His strategy is now to both continue to scare the heck out of people who are at no risk, and to inch toward greater flexibility. Too late, he has already done the damage to the jobs market and people’s lives. And I am really tired of him finding people from the business and other communities to toe the party line and kiss his ass. The implicit message continues to be that if you don’t think like the Governor and those people he trots out, you just aren’t Minnesotan. How about if we are all in this together, you bring up some people with other viewpoints to be considered?
Today’s briefing thankfully was minus the Governor but no more enlightening. The daily case and death report continues to indicate that the only part of the population at any significant risk are the elderly, especially those in long-term care facilities. They talked about food plant issues, another place that you would have imagined they might have been able to be a little more proactive. They did get some tougher questions about deaths and the long-term care settings.
Finally, I have been trying to get more information on cases, hospitalizations, and deaths by age and by place of residence. The state only gives death information by age, and then only by age range and median age. They have been fairly open about the epidemic, no pun intended, of deaths in Minnesota long-term care facilities, but they don’t provide all the details. At one point, it appeared to me that no one younger than 70 has died who was living in a setting other than a long-term care facility, and an email I received from the Department of Health appears to confirm that, but I can’t really tell for sure. In some of the briefings they have specified that certain deaths under 70 were of long-term care residents, but I am still trying to verify that no one under 70 has died in the community setting. Death certificates may complicate the issue because they ask for primary residence. But long-term care facilities are used for lengthy rehabilitation stints, for people who eventually may return to, and maintain, a primary residence. So the death certificate isn’t necessarily going to tell you where they were residing when they contracted the disease. I am going to continue to work on getting this information. The importance is obvious–why is the whole state locked down when the only risk is to older people. Everyone should pay the price for the State’s inability to protect those living in long-term care facilities?