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Get Ready, Minnesota

By November 6, 2020Commentary

I have it on very, very good authority that the IB is intending to call the legislature into session in the near future and try to get it to agree on a second shutdown for a supposedly limited period.  What is most interesting to me is why he doesn’t just order it.  I believe it is because he is concerned that his own party may have defectors the next time he tries to extend his emergency powers.  If people aren’t starting to question why all these measures that he put in place–mask mandates, the LTC battle plan and business limitations and school limitations and on and on, micromanaging personal, social, economic and educational lives; haven’t had any impact, than we are all way denser than I would have thought possible.  They aren’t making any difference, period.

But at the briefing today, instead of some acknowledgment that their plans and measures aren’t working, what we got was an astonishing exercise in warped logic, or rather, should I say non-logic.  The Commissioner literally said, because we see this rise in cases, it must mean Minnesotans aren’t complying with the orders and engaging in the recommended mitigation measures.  I see zero evidence of that and aside from the bizarre logical fallacy, the State offered no proof of it.   What I do know and can see very plainly is that Minnesotans are highly compliant, way too unquestioningly compliant in my opinion.  We have almost the highest mask wearing rate in the country.  (By the way, I am going to use better logic than the Commissioner to say that the mask mandate has caused a more than 300% rise in cases.  We need to discourage mask-wearing immediately to get cases back to where they were before the mandate.)  Here is the real logic, which is obvious to anyone who isn’t interested in ignoring the obvious, cases are rising because the mitigation of spread measures aren’t effective, not because people don’t comply with them. 

The whole briefing was an exercise in blaming, and we were admonished to take the rise in cases seriously and make behavior changes.  We made changes in our behavior, they aren’t making any difference.

We got a review of the five point LTC battle plan and some select statistics to show that is working.  I had forgotten what a lot of bureaucratic gibberish was in that plan.  It isn’t working.  Cases and deaths are rising, and if we hadn’t already so exhausted the pool of vulnerable LTC residents, they would likely be even higher.  But here too, it isn’t the state’s fault for having an inadequate plan, it is staff and the community’s fault for allowing spread and bringing it into the facilities.  Be a lot smarter messaging to just admit that there are substantial limits to the ability to control this virus.

Lots of questions from the media aimed at getting quotes to feed the hospitalization hysteria and the need for more dial-back.   The media, as usual, is a big part of the problem, failing to ask challenging questions about blaming Minnesotans for non-existent non-compliance with mitigation of spread measures, and more than willing to amplify the frenzied panic over virus spread.

We supposedly had over 5000 new cases today on about the highest testing volume ever.  But there is something weird going on with the spread of those cases to date of actual specimen collection.  The new cases got very widely dispersed over a lot of past days.  The state did not mention a testing dump, but I have to believe that a good part of these cases were delayed reporting of results.

One final note, the CDC is trying desperately to crank out non-science research to support the obviously futile mitigation of spread measures.  The latest study, which you can find on their website if you really like junk non-science, supposedly shows how well all the mitigation measures worked in Delaware.  With the usual cherry-picking approach, they stopped looking in late June at cases and deaths.  Might want to extend that study to the current time, looks like its baaaack.  Just absolute garbage to pick a time when cases and deaths were already on the decline and pretend that those measures had anything to do with it and then ignore the return.

Join the discussion 43 Comments

  • Douglas kraus says:

    I am very grateful that you do the work and share it with us. Nothing seems to change the direction of the IB, but at least I know I am not crazy. Thank you.

  • Rob Johnson says:

    Your commentary is one of the few places where one can find rational, logical, and statistical counter-analysis of the bizarro world created for us by the IB. Thanks very much for your continuing work!

  • paulashley says:

    The inmates are running the asylum. Some are insane inmates, some are evil and criminal, and the bulk, the citizen-sheep group, are just plain mentally deficient Nearly al voted for Biden.

  • Mike Timmer says:

    If we’re not living in one continuous shutdown which varies only in intensity, I’m a monkey’s uncle. The conditions were set for this from the start, and the IB has hardly a thing to do to adjust those dials. Minnesotans by and large are unquestioning, gullible, and supine. The end of this debacle will necessarily require a gala celebration, a state holiday of festivities to convince the public to lay down their masks. Pitiful.

  • Joe Lampe says:

    Gov Walz and the MN Dept of Health have the same goal as Nancy Pelosii announced yesterday: “We are going to crush the virus.” But this is a biological impossibility. Their methods will only further crush the MN economy and delay exit from the epidemic.

  • Gregory J Olmstead says:

    Time to fight back and this tyranny

  • Andy Brown says:

    I see people without masks and within 6ft (indoor and outdoor) CONSTANTLY. Minnesotans are admittedly better than our neighboring states, but we are far from blindly compliant.

  • Dan says:

    I saw evidence of how dense people are today on a bike trail out in the country. Someone I ride past was walking with a mask in their hand which they put over their mouth as I rode past.

  • senecagriggs says:

    Aaron, don’t think of this in political partisan terms; think of this in psychological terms. ANY program that requires almost 100 % participation to work has already failed. We’re not talking politics, we’re talking human nature. If Trump says, “Everybody mask up,” Lot of people won’t. If Biden says “Everybody mask up,” an equal amount of people won’t. So don’t get caught up in the politics; pay attention to the psychology of being ordered to do something and your natural resistance to taking orders.

  • Kevin J Kealy says:

    Churches are not packed!

  • Billy says:

    For those of you commenting on the need for evidence supporting Mr. Roche’s theories, I suggest looking at his daily blog. Mr. Roche has probably hundreds of research articles referenced regarding masks, infection rates, death rates, PCR testing, country comparisons, state comparisons, and how the virus spreads, to name a few. He then analyzes the research or explains the research article to the best of his understanding. To say he has no evidence for his claims quite simply is false. In the end, we are trying to control something we have no control over. No government policy can stop a virus. I will not live in this world, treating my fellow man as a disease.

    God Bless you all


  • Sara says:

    How can someone who reports on health not have an understanding of virus spread? The spread itself IS proof of noncompliance. This is the result of three problems we are all paying for. Optimism, selfishness and a lack of comprehension. Firstly, there are those who believe they would be among the group of survivors, optimistic they will have no complications and therefore go about their daily life without precaution. Secondly, the selfish disregard for others around us is prevalent. Just because some may move forward in life unharmed doesn’t mean your elderly or vulnerable neighbor will. Lastly, as this article and previous comments have supported, whether it is born of intentional ignorance or lack of faculties, there is a complete lack of understanding how dire the situation is that they themselves are creating.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      I am going to take your comment seriously and not as some emotional response. That fact that the virus spreads is proof of nothing other than that the virus spreads. To say it is proof of noncompliance has no logical foundation. A variety of locales around the world have tried a wide variety of suppression tactics, and those have invariably failed to stop spread. You should consider the possibility, which has generally been accepted in previous epidemics, that it is not possible to completely stop the spread of a fairly contagious respiratory virus, and that the costs of attempting to do so may be far greater than the harm done by the epidemic itself. One simple example is the estimate by the United Nations that 100 million to 200 million people will starve to death or die of other diseases in the next few years because of the economic lockdowns and other measures. if you doubt this, I would encourage you to google and look at the pictures coming out of Nigeria and other African countries. i don’t believe even the most extreme modelers have projected even a modest fraction of this many deaths from CV-19. Please read and consider the studies and articles and ask yourself if you are actually capable of having an open mind and assessing the situation rationally.

  • Chuck says:

    Is “Sara” really Com Malcom? Or, ummmm, ya know, ahhhh, KrisE?

  • Sara says:

    This article is addressed to Minnesota, I am a resident here. I do not live in Nigeria and no matter how bleak the statistics you provided are for them it does not address this article. You have failed to understand that mitigation of spread efforts are to buy time and save lives while we wait for a vaccine. These efforts are not life sentences. If you are looking for proof that mitigation of spread makes a difference or is in any way effective I SUGGEST YOU educate yourself on Singapore and Australia’s efforts. Victoria Australia is on their 9th day with no new cases or deaths!!! This article in it’s entirety is irresponsible.

  • Ricard says:

    Sara’s comment that “The spread itself IS proof of noncompliance” is what’s known as ‘circular logic’ and is unscientific at its root. The rest of the post is foundation-less ranting. I suggest she read the blog for a while with objectivity rather than wedded to a pre-determined point of view and absorb the data and science presented here before making an emotion-based presentation as her only response.

  • Sara says:

    Please explain scientifically how the corona virus is spread from person to person? Its not magic. What is your mask-less solution to stop the spread and save lives. Please enlighten us. LOL.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      Okay, I give up, please read the post this morning, but otherwise it is apparent that you haven’t actually read any of the studies or looked at the Minnesota or CDC data or done anyting other than parrot what is reported in hysterical media.

  • Jamal says:

    No evidence of Minnesotans not following recommended practices? Have you been out in rural MN?!? Talk about rocking blinders, bucky…..

  • Aaron says:

    Apparently my previous comment wasn’t up to Kevin’s standards. So I’ll try again, but with brevity.

    Fauci, the CDC, and the WHO all ask that you wear masks, socially distance, and limit your time at restaurants and large gatherings. Listen to them, not Kevin.

    Is this, better, Kevin?

    • Kevin Roche says:

      Okay, I will try one more time, if you read the blog you will see: 1) I never ever discourage people from wearing masks or taking whatever actions they think appropriate to comply with the guidelines and protect themselves; 2) I follow all the guidelines myself; 3) Fauci, the CDC and the WHO have all been inconsistent on whether masks actually make a difference; only saying they would provide a benefit after it became politicized; 4) there is no significant actual trial-based evidence that finds a benefit of wearing masks to slow community transmission, 5) you have to distinguish between the individual encounter level where a mask may stop transmission some of the time and the macro or population level where over large numbers of encounters there is pretty clearly no benefit. The state of Minnesota for example, has been completely unable to produce any evidence from contact tracing or otherwise that people who wore masks in the community were less likely to be infected than those who don’t. I have explained why this is true repeatedly, 6) explain Sweden and Denmark and other Nordic countries where there is basically no mask wearing and a lower level of case growth than in the rest of Europe; 7) there is no correlation, one way or the other between mask wearing behavior in a country and case level or deaths. if the research and data change, my perspective will change on the state of the evidence. Finally, if a person doesn’t bother to actually read all the studies and look at the data, I am very disinclined to pay any attention to what they have to say. Parroting whatever you read elsewhere has no value

  • Nick says:

    I have to back up other comments saying MN compliance with mask wearing is definetly not great. We may be better than average, but even as a stay at home worker, the few times a week I do get out I still see very frequent no-mask cases. I go to restaurants to pick up food, and see cases where the inside seating is very close, all unmasked (because eating), but shouting conversation, as it was loud in there. I see it in local bars serving food, I pick up my togo order, seeing people sitting at the bar maskless and talking loud. Just 3 weeks back my family held a garage sale, inside the garage due to the cold. At least 30% of those that came had to be asked to wear a mask (they did so without complaining, but clearly did not intend to). On my Facebook feed, I frequently see potos posted of gatherings showing a group of 10+ people with no masks in sight. I have a few friends that are normally mask wearers, but got the virus. When asking them about it, they sheepeshly admit they know how they got it, visiting family, indoors and taking their guard down with no mask…5 days later they had symptoms. Since they were normally careful, the timing and tests afterward made it clear thats where the transmission happened. Like getting pregnant, it only takes once without protection. 🙂

    In short, I believe your perseption of how high mask wearing compliance is needs some more evidence gathering. I see all that I’ve listed above as a 90% stay at home guy. I’m sure people out more see more than I do. I’m in the southern suberbs. I’m not saying we should move the dial back, i doubt it would help anyway, too many don’t follow current guidelines. And I think bar, restaurant, etc owners need to make some sort of a living too. But to suggest we stop all attempts to control the virus (you suggested ending the mask mandate) would be foolish. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than letting it run wild with no attempt to control it. I suspect our infection rates would be far worse than they already are if we had no mask mandate at all.

  • Mike Timmer says:

    Kevin, You’ve been found out by the political rabble and been crowd struck. You might as well close down your comment section now. Those of us who appreciate your work will always be following you. They aren’t worth your breath.

  • Josh says:

    I manage in a nicer restaurant in the suburbs and I can’t get people wear a mask willingly (not everyone). They have to be reminded, or they have a “medical exemption”. If you aren’t seeing it, it is because you are choosing to.

  • SteveD says:

    ‘The spread itself IS proof of noncompliance.’

    Wow! This is one of the most perfect examples of a logical fallacy I have ever seen. So much so that I am convinced the comment and post must be ironic.

  • Ann M Harste says:

    I work for one of the largest healthcare organizations in the state and they definitely don’t agree with you. I think I’ll stick with their guidance

  • Hz says:

    Look at South Korea. Everyone wears kf90 ( equivalent to ns95) masks and the numbers are MUCH better than Minnesota.

    Since you like logic, I want to point out that you also don’t have any evidence that the mask isn’t working. Could you kindly let me know of any evidence?

  • Jeff says:

    I just have one comment and one question to ponder.
    Comment: at the beginning health care workers were very concerned with shortages of PPE, so initially not recommending masking for everyone was mainly so there was adequate supply for them.
    Question: if masking is not effective, then why do all in a surgery suite wear them? Would anyone in their right mind tell medical staff not to wear them for their own surgery or procedure?

  • Aaron says:

    Jack, that’s a lot of word salad right there.

    My wife is a physician, and I’d suggest that if your doctors are telling you not to wear a mask you should probably find new ones.

  • Aaron says:

    What’s the point in having a comments section if you’re just going to delete all the relevant posts that disagree with the article?

  • Abbiecakes says:

    This article found itself on my cellular news feed. I found its contents and the community’s responses intriguing. I will take no stance on this matter, however, I would like to bring to light the noticeable removal of credible public replies. Is this platform for a specific audience only? If so, I can only conclude that this operation is very unprofessional.

    • Kevin Roche says:

      I have made it clear from the start that the blog is science and data oriented and that I welcome comments if they are reasoned and rational. I don’t care if people agree with me but name-calling and parroting talking points are a waste of everyone’s time. I have had readers point out errors in my work, which I correct and give credit to the readers for. Respectful comments usually get a personal email from me, I have sent out a few today. But I am not going to waste my time, certainly not after the last couple of days on people who clearly don’t have any interest in actually reading a study or even a summary of a study, or looking at data.

  • Ricard says:

    I have found that attempting to have a civil, objective conversation with those who drop such phrases as “Please enlighten us. LOL” while believing the fallacy that ‘correlation is causality’ is futile as their mind is closed to anything but pre-established beliefs, and have nothing of substance to contribute.

  • Ricard says:

    Hz (and others) – Read through all Kevin’s previous posts this year on masks and the variety of covid results experienced by various countries; your answers will be there. It should also be noted that prior to 2020 numerous rigorous studies over the past decades were done on the ability of masking to impact the spread of viruses (as opposed to bacteria). No affirmative consensus has ever been found. The current affirmation of mask use is largely political rather than scientific.

  • Ricard says:

    Jeff – Masking in surgery is for the prevention of the spread of infectious bacteria. I have read articles from surgeons and heard Dr. Osterholm state that anything besides an N95 provides little or no protection against virus spread.

  • Aaron says:

    Richard, I am so, so very tired of hearing Osterholm invoked as an authority for anti-maskers. Masks are not there to protect the person wearing it, but everyone else. The point is to stop particulates that carry the virus from leaving the infected individual. Masks, other than N95, absolutely do not adequately protect the wearer from contracting the virus. That’s why doctors and nurses wear surgical masks for general patients, and N95 for those that are COVID positive.

    Below is information from Osterholm himself:

    He also wanted to dispel the notion that he’s “anti-mask,” referencing a June 2 podcast in which he said he’s working with tech leaders to develop a reusable, washable N95 medical-grade mask that does provide more protection from airborne droplets.

    “If these masks can become a reality and many, many millions of them made and distributed to the public around the world in the next few months, this could be a real game-changer,” he said.

    “So anyone who claims I don’t think masks are important, they are just plain wrong. I do.”

    As for cloth masks, he said: “Again, I want to make it very clear that I support the use of cloth face coverings by the general public. I wear one myself on the limited occasions I’m out in public,” he adds.

    “In areas where face coverings are mandated, I expect the public to follow the mandate and wear them.”

    Please, do not invoke his name in an effort to legitimize anit-maskers.

  • Aaron says:

    Kevin, I have literally provided point-for-point rebuttals to your comments. Do not try to pass off your deletion of comments as anything other than your embarrassment.

    I will state again, you are not an infectious disease expert, you are not an epidemiologist…and “parroting” the advice of experts is not something that should receive deletion.

    That is all.

  • lee says:

    Masks seem to be a religion and not a science. As notedd previously, studies in the past have not shown masks work. Drs recommend them, but can they produce the studies that say they work???

  • Abbiecakes says:

    Mr. Roche,
    I thank you for your response and clarification. When I first stumbled upon you I was under the impression that this was a journalist piece. My mistake. I note you are looking for reason and rationale in your readers. This is no coversation Sir when you silence any voice in disagreement with you. This is more of an echo chamber isn’t it? Is not everything one repeats of someone else parroting? Are you not also using studies of others to come to your conclusions? Is this your own work and reason, are you the expert who has studied in detail or have first hand experience with this disease? I read of two nurses earlier in this day whom most likely are those people and you silenced them. They were passionate yes I felt this in their words but did not feel their argument had no foundation. I can only gather this attitude will fan flames already smothering the medical staff provided us. Have a care Sir.
    Cheers if I am to join the banished.

  • Ricard says:

    I’ve often heard the phrase “Masks are not there to protect the person wearing it, but everyone else.” But where is the evidence? In the decades prior to covid there were many studies regarding the effects of masks to inhibit viral spread, yet no positive consensus has ever been reached. Failing a scientific basis common sense tells me the reverse of the modern tale. As demonstrations have shown the majority of exhalent flows not through the mask but around it, carrying viral matter with it. Of the small portion that passes through the fabric maybe 20% of the contained virus will be captured. Inhaling tightens the mask increasing the amount of the air that flows through the mask into the lungs capturing more of the virus particles than during an exhale.

  • Ricard says:

    In response to Aaron above about Osterholm and masks, it’s not as simple as he makes it. Here he is in his own words on two separate occasions, apparently before he wanted to get famous (these are available on video as well):

    “So for a mask issue I would just say I can’t make it any clearer than this, if you want to wear one, go ahead. But know that the science isn’t there to say you’re going to have a material impact on what happens with this pandemic.” ~June 12, 2020 (Zoom conference).

    . . . and . . .

    ROGAN: “Now, what can be done? Like, what can the average person do? I see people walking around with masks, wearing gloves. Is that nonsense?”

    OSTERHOLM: “Largely.” (radio interview)

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