Gov. Walz gave a briefing on Tuesday, the state DOH gave one on Wednesday and Scott Johnson got more answers to questions. All demonstrated the continuing pattern of messaging which we seen all year and probably can expect to hear next year. And the most notable item continues to be what isn’t discussed–the impact on Minnesotans who don’t have CV-19, real CV-19 illness. The Commissioner of Health drones on and on about caring for our neighbors by avoiding spread with all these measures that clearly make no difference. How much caring have they shown for the children of Minnesota who are missing real educations and real social development and have record levels of mental health issues? How much caring have they shown for the Minnesotans, many more in number, who have missed necessary health care and even died because of that? The answer is none. The sole focus has been on CV-19 cases and deaths, with no regard for the consequences of actions taken to suppress spread. And they have manipulated results and data to make it look like there are more cases and deaths than there are.
The IB spread more misinformation about testing and widespread random testing for surveillance. This is a worthless and pointless endeavor, particularly when so many false and low positives occur. We should cut the crap about testing and go back to solely testing people with symptoms or who clearly may have had contact with an infected person. The IB claimed that countries like South Korea and Taiwan got things under control early because of massive testing. That is a lie. First, take a look at South Korea’s recent case experience, especially the last two weeks. Second, neither country tests widely; neither has a testing approach anything like the idiocy in Minnesota or the US. On the contrary, they have some of the lowest testing rates in the world. The US has tested at an astounding rate of over 732,000 per one million of population. South Korea is at little over 77,000 per million.
The Governor and DOH continue to try to take credit for the plummeting case numbers. I will say one more time, his actions had nothing to do with it, cases were already dropping before any orders were issued, and I don’t think even voluntary behavior changes have much to do with the case decline. One of our few intrepid reporters, Tom Hauser, very accurately observed that the cases appeared to rise and fall in lockstep across the Upper Midwest, notwithstanding lockdown measure variability, so why would the Gov be so sure his orders had anything to do with that and couldn’t it just be cyclicality? The IB’s answer was classic Walz, part non-response, part non-sequitur, almost all lies. First we get the inapt analogy, “if your neighbors are not doing what is necessary to keep the house from burning down that doesn’t mean you should follow them”, or something like that. Huh? If our house burns down notwithstanding everything the IB has done to supposedly protect it, should we maybe consider that we aren’t doing the right things. And if the damage to some of our neighbors’ houses is less than to ours, and they didn’t take actions nearly as costly as ours to total social welfare, should we maybe consider that they are doing something better than we are. Here is an interesting thought, Florida has a population that is older than ours, much more minority than ours and much more densely distributed. Florida basically has no restrictions right now, including children getting a real education. Florida’s deaths per million is 978. Minnesota’s, with every kind of silly order, including one of the most restrictive social gathering rules in the country, is 896. I am pretty sure we will pass them. Rather live here or in Florida? A lot of Minnesotans and other people have headed for Florida.
The IB went on to say to say he hadn’t done anything that wasn’t proven, once again said it was all due to the poor federal response, said we were better than our neighbors, that we didn’t have as many economic restrictions as other states and of course, no press conference would be complete without some self-pity, he is not doing easy things. Total and complete garbage. And he is doing the easy thing; taking the easy way out. Just lie about how bad the situation is and claim that you are doing everything you can to stop cases and deaths from CV-19 and ignore all the bad consequences of your actions–that is the easy thing. The hard thing is what Governors like Noem in South Dakota and DeSantis in Florida did–take the best interests of the entire public into consideration and be willing to take the heat from unrelenting media hysterics. In the taxonomy of Governors, Walz is under the genus of spineless scum.
A lot of time has been spent on vaccine distribution. As in some other states, Minnesota’s distribution priorities include some lunacy. We know who is at risk–the frail elderly. That should be the only priority if we are trying to minimize deaths and morbidity. That is in the first point below, which comes straight from the state’s guidelines. Nothing else is needed. But look at points two and three, which are both absolute gibberish and if acted on, are contrary to the first point. In something this serious, could we just avoid the woke nonsense and do what makes common sense? Seems to me like you would be systematically unfair to do anything other than vaccinate the most at risk first.
“Maximize benefits and minimize harms: Protect the population’s health by reducing mortality and serious morbidity.
Promote justice: Respect people and groups and promote solidarity and mutual responsibility.
Mitigate health inequities: Strive for fairness and protect against systematic unfairness and
And the answers to Scott Johnson’s questions from the last couple of weeks were equally garbled and meaningless. Here are some samples. Although still blaming the Sturgis motorcycle rally for our cases, the state said they had no idea how many Minnesotans were there. So they really have no idea how many cases might have stemmed from attending the rally. I think since they only identified one chain of transmission, that is all there was. In response to a question about the World Health Organization’s warning on use of PCR test results with high-cycle numbers, they first denied that this is what the release said (it most certainly did) and then acknowledged that labs in the state were using cutoffs from 35 to 45 cycles. Even at 35 the research is very clear that you are getting few positives of viable virus and at 45 you are getting nothing but garbage. The state lab is using 40, which is garbage. At a minimum they could tell us the distribution of cycle numbers at that lab.
Next question: Where is that f*****g model update that you have been promising for months and that would really have been useful this fall. This one merits a quote: “We have worked on the model through summer and fall and anticipate releasing information in the most appropriate context and in a way that balances all the high-priority issues being considered right now with vaccine release.” I will translate, having become fluent in DOH bullshitese. “That thing is more worthless than one million words from the IB. The bastards who built that thing are dead last on the vaccine priority list and we buried them in an unused missile bunker in South Dakota along with a jar of coronavirus. See if they can model their way out of that. I wouldn’t trust them to model a walk across the street.”
Finally, they keep talking about the incubation period being forever, when it is generally a week or less and actually almost never longer than that. This matters because they also imply it takes forever for their precious mitigation measures to show an impact. They do that because they figure when they say it is four weeks, people will forget and just assume that whatever they did must have worked. This is also worthy of a quote. “The effectiveness of mitigation measures cannot be measured within a week. The time it takes to see the effect of mitigation measures and the incubation period for a single case of COVID-19 are two very different things. You are correct that the average time between exposure and development of symptoms is about 7 days, but we know there are still many cases that do not show symptoms until Day 10, 12 or 14. Cases do not become part of our reports or data on the exact day they develop symptoms. It may take several days after someone develops symptoms for them to see a health care provider or for them to get tested. It may take another couple days for that positive result to be reported and for the case to be confirmed through case investigation and to be reported by us as a case. So we’re already beyond the one week time frame you describe. More importantly, however, in considering mitigation measures and looking at their impact, we must look beyond the Week 1 primary case, so to speak. In fact, cases occurring in a particular week were already infected the week prior. That is, that exposure has already occurred and mitigation is not a time machine – we can’t go back and un-expose someone, which would be the only way to see effects in one week. Therefore, when actions are taken, they have no impact on the cases already infected and currently incubating. The goal of these mitigation efforts is to decrease the next round of spread (secondary cases) and the next round of spread (tertiary cases) and so on and so on. Which is why the impact of mitigation efforts takes weeks to see in the data.”
If you understand that, write me. If an order banning social gatherings had the impact we were told it would have, and after all, that is supposedly why it was issued, on day 1 transmission should begin to be limited and we should see the results of that limiting of transmission within seven days at the latest. Within two weeks, a strong effect would be very apparent, if there was one. For example, look at the mask mandate, why that had a dramatic effect right away, didn’t it? Errr, maybe not, I don’t think cases have ever gotten as low again as they were when that mandate was issued. But in four weeks, it sure made cases jump, so maybe it does take a long time to see the impact–in the wrong direction. The statements about the chains of transmission are so illogical as to defy any explanation. The first case was long ago, so we aren’t talking about primary or index cases any more, they are all several generations down the line. Call it whatever generation you want, if the measure affects transmission, it should affect it in the current generation, whatever it is. How can these people even write this nonsense down, where it will live for posterity.
And that is life in Minnesota. Coronamonomania and government incompetence par excellence. I am going to Florida for vacation.