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A Head Full of Brief(ing) Thoughts

By October 29, 2020Commentary

Every day I think about how to present information in a manner that makes it interesting and informative and that gives people some hope that all is not bleak.  And I provide occasional commentary to in part vent my own frustrations at how poorly the epidemic is being handled and in part to be a voice that others can identify with.  It is difficult over such a long period to come up with new ways to describe what we see play out every day from the traditional media and most politicians.  But I will keep trying.  I have to tell you that in Minnesota at least, I could write the script for every briefing, I pretty much know the messaging strategy.

Another “alarming” “dangerous” “risky” coronavirus briefing today in Minnesota.  Of course the media plays along.  I just want to first note that I could do another update on the effect of the mask mandate, but all you need to do is look at the table updated every day on the Department of Health website, the table called Cases by Date of Specimen  Collection.  Just look at cases beginning at the end of June and moving forward til now. At this point cases are two to three times the level they were before the mask mandate.  MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.  

Not only is masking not working, but the battle plan for the long-term care sector has failed and the defenses completely collapsed.  But never fear, it isn’t the administration’s fault, no, not at all, they had a great strategy and associated tactical plan, but, as we heard several times in the briefing, Minnesotans aren’t following the rules; we aren’t complying with the mitigation measures, so it is all our fault that cases are rising.  Aside from the complete subversion of democratic norms, this is most deplorable of the IB’s tactics–blaming the population for his completely incompetent handling of the epidemic.  But I expect we will hear a lot more along those lines over the next few days.  None of it is true; Minnesotans have been all too compliant with the terrorization campaign.

I also want to observe that our IB Governor is strangely mostly silent these days and is doing less threatening, notwithstanding the “alarming” rise in cases.  I strongly suspect that is due to Minnesota partaking in the rural uprising present throughout most of the country, an uprising which threatens his party’s hold on politics in the state.  And I also very strongly suspect, without being too paranoid, that if his party remains in some legislative control, he has some very nasty actions in store, probably to be unleashed as early as next week.  He has too much to lose by not continuing to pretend that this was and is a massively devastating epidemic that required and requires his thoughtless and irrational responses to protect the people.  His actions and the actions of like-minded petty dictators throughout the country are the source of the vast bulk of the economic, educational, health, and social damage perpetrated on the citizenry.

But, there is a ray of sunshine on the horizon, we heard again, for the hundredth time since late spring, that “within a few weeks”  (last time this was mentioned it was in a few days) a new version of the Minnesota Model will be unveiled, this one complete with simulations about the impact of various mitigation measures. I thought that was what we already got, the simulations that told us no matter what we did 50,000 Minnesotans would die and the epidemic would actually be over by now after something like 5 million Minnesotans were infected.  And a hat tip to Dr. Osterholm, also known as Dr. Overthehill, for all your input and guidance in creating that model.  I am sure the new version will be an equal source of merriment.

Meanwhile, one article note before my aged body, and mind, must retire for the evening.  The nabobs of negativity (a hat tip now to that paragon of corruption, Spiro Agnew, or at least to one of his speechwriters, since I think Spiro’s rhetorical skills were limited to a rather prettified version of “stick em up” and “where’s that envelope”) are determined not to acknowledge the superior wisdom of Sweden’s approach.  A prime example of this is found in the formerly estimable scientific publication Science, which titled an article “Sweden’s Gamble”.  (Science Article)  Even the title is offensive because Sweden was not in any manner gambling.  The country’s authorities made a very conscious decision to do what they thought was both best for overall public health and would be sustainable in the long run with the lowest possible toll of morbidity and mortality.  But then Science is fully politicized and ideological and not about to let facts or science stand in the way of what it believes.  I mean after all, they call the publication Beliefs for a reason.  Oh wait, they haven’t gone quite that far yet.  The article tries to claim Sweden paid a high price for its approach, but the price is looking pretty low right now, as Sweden’s per capita death rate continues to slip further and further down the ranks of European countries.  (Minnesota will catch up with Sweden in a month or so.)  And the quality of life for Swedes is far better than in other countries.  The article resorts to outright lies about both the data on Sweden’s epidemic and its policies.  But what else is new.


Join the discussion 11 Comments

  • Garry Bowman says:

    Found this article particularly interesting and an apt description of the erroneous logic the governor and his MDH charges have employed here in Minnesota.

  • Ellen says:

    Whatever you may have heard of Florida, while our governor has been less crazy than the rest, our local governments have done a swell job of wielding the iron claw of totalitarianism.

  • Rob says:

    The lockdowns are now causing more deaths than the virus. Burning the village in order to save it.

    I expect politicians to do the stupid thing. What’s disheartening, although not surprising, is the occupational arrogance of so many epidemiologists and physicians who have more faith in their own ability to “stop a virus” (something they’ve never actually done) and so little faith in the human immune system to fight the virus (something it has a pretty good track record of doing).

  • Ganderson says:

    Kevin- I couldn’t be more discouraged. It seems we’re back where we were at Eastertime- no sign in my corner of New England that the panic is going away. I posted a long rant over at Peak Stupidity- won’t repeat it here, but we have seemingly lost our minds.
    BTW it was William Safire who made up the phrase “nattering nabobs of negativism”. I miss the days when corrupt politicos were just motivated by cash.

  • dirtyjobsguy says:

    here in Connecticut we call our IB, “Jolly Ned” Lamont for his fake folksy style. I’ve got a background in engineering statistics and modeling and one of my past enterprises was nuclear reactor physics. There we called “R” , Keffective. So if Keffective was > 1 your power went up and < 1 it dropped away. This parameter doesn't care if you are stable at 1 Watt or 5 billion watts. Heterogeneity had a huge impact as did poisons (vaccines) and depletion of susceptible elements. I quickly found that our epidemiologists are astounding novices at modelling. It surprised me how bad they were. Currently I trended town by town covid statistics so I could speak clearly to my employees. I clearly saw no effect from the lockdown in any of our hotspot towns (CT has no counties for real). Also I saw huge differences in locations just a few miles apart. Clearly the so-called fall spike is not due to being indoors, but from formerly isolated areas who had very low but stable transmission of COVID getting enough to light up. The "high rates" are nothing more than lower acquired immunity in a population that was formerly isolated. Since most of these are lower population areas, they should trend down rapidly.

  • Emmett DeMundi says:

    Just for the record, they were “the nattering nabobs of negativity.” And they’re still nattering away.

  • Light Ex says:

    Kevin, Has anyone studied whether there was a huge drop in deaths in these co-morbidity cases (eg person has diabetes, heart disease, etc and dies from that rather than covid). I suspect the State is just substituting these deaths with what the claim are COVID deaths to keep the hysteria going.

  • Light Ex says:

    A reply on Twitter: “Here in Brazil, when we hit the 100k deaths (sad) mark, a journalist (not mainstream media, of course) asked a question yet to be answered: Why the hell did this year’s deaths by heart attack, strokes, septicemia, and pneumonia were 70k down when compared to last year’s ??”

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