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What the Governor Said and Did

By May 14, 2020Commentary

Once again, I have the great honor to translate remarks from the esteemed (maybe just steamed along about now) Governor of my home state.  He is articulate but sometimes you might miss the subtleties in the message.  No questions allowed last night, and why take the risk of doing that, since even the press corps is starting to wonder if he has a real grip on reality.  This was a concession speech.  It was a concession to the people of Minnesota’s unwillingness to have their freedom constrained when it is now obvious that no serious threat is posed to the general population.  It was a concession to the enormous economic damage inflicted on the state.  It was a concession that he and his team completely misjudged the nature and course of the epidemic and reacted in an unnecessary and harmful manner.

Several times in his speech he referred to the virus as “upending” life in Minnesota, and the virus causing economic pain.  The “virus” didn’t do anything–it was the unwise, panicked over-reaction that caused all that damage and he is responsible for those actions.  So don’t try to pass the buck to the “virus”, take responsibility for how you handled the situation.

He couldn’t resist a little fear-mongering, still has to scare everyone about how dangerous this is.  I hope everyone now realizes that for the vast majority of us, there is no danger; certainly no more than from a hundred other activities or causes that we encounter every day.

He had to pat himself on the back for how we prepared for the coming storm and saved thousands of lives.  We need to be really clear about this.  There was and is no storm anywhere but in the long-term care facilities and his administration did a horrible job of protecting people in those settings.   And not one life has been saved by his actions, not one.  In the modeling briefing yesterday, the modelers struggled to in any way articulate how any deaths had been saved.

He scolded us for not doing as well at social distancing as we should be and encouraged us to still stay home and be safe.  If lack of social distancing really mattered we would be seeing a lot more cases and deaths.  He also clearly didn’t get the message from Governor Cuomo, that two-thirds of cases were actually transmitted at home, and he clearly isn’t listening to the science as well as he says he is, since the research shows that household transmission is the most common.  So having people locked up at home may not be the best idea.

The Governor lightened up the orders both on stay-at-home and business openings, but not by much.  They are still both far too restrictive, especially given the lack of necessity for those restrictions.  It is pretty apparent that a lot of people are going to do what they want without regard to the orders, but if we are to begin the arduous task of restoring jobs and businesses, we need to open up far more than even the revised orders would permit.

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