A quick update on Minnesota’s deaths, woefully misattributed to CV-19 as they are. 6202 total deaths, 3930 in long-term care facilities. The best estimates are that there were about 80,000 residents in those facilities. So the fatality rate was 4.9% of all LTC residents. For the rest of the population the fatality rate is .04%. So the relative risk is 122 times greater for a long-term care resident. To be clear for every one person who dies in the general population, 122 die in long term care. Yet we didn’t absolutely ensure that every dose of vaccine went to them first. And we are limiting what the rest of the population does when their risk of serious illness and death is basically non-existent.
You get the same kind of spread when you look at age. 5092 of the deaths have occurred in those 70 or over, that population group has 706,000 members in Minnesota, so the fatality rate is .72%. On the other end, for people under 40 there have been 72 deaths. There are 2,871,000 of this group, or over half the state population. Fatality rate is a vanishingly small .oo2%. Let me be sure you understand, that is 2 one-thousands of a percent. Relative risk is 360 times. Again, so for every person under 40 who dies supposedly from CV-19, 360 people over 80 die. Even worse, 3769 of the deaths are in those 80 or over, that is 60% of all deaths. There are only 265,600 people in this age group in the state. Their fatality rate is 1.4%. That is right, we have killed 1.4% of all the state residents over 80. Under 30 year olds number 2,106,000. They represent a whopping 45 deaths. Fatality rate–also rounds to that .002%. Relative rate now, 700 to one. But yes, let’s lock up all the under 30 year olds, keep them out of school, depress the hell out of them, because we can’t figure out how to keep older people, who generally don’t have much life expectancy left, safe.
Dr. Osterdoom is enjoying his new national prominence and using it to promulgate as much panic as possible, now saying the next few weeks will be a Category 5 hurricane of CV-19 cases. He might be right, but it is highly, highly unlikely. He hasn’t been right about anything yet. But scaring people baselessly is definitely wrong.
Here in Minnesota we continue to deal with the constant incompetence of the vaccine rollout, and a refusal to fully open all schools to in-person, also known as real, education, if that is what you call the indoctrination delivered by the public schools. This notwithstanding the fact that there are basically no cases in the state, especially if you consider the testing volume and the likelihood of false positives in that low prevalence environment.
Scott Johnson, from the Powerline blog, continues to get nonsense answers from the state to his questions, with occasional revealing nuggets. Here is the most important thing from the last couple of question sets. Scott asked about the mask case control study that they supposedly were doing in the late summer/early fall. “We began with a small pilot study that was very limited and inconclusive. We didn’t have the resources to look at mask efficacy or use through a case control study.” And then they say that, well there is plenty of evidence already that they work. And it isn’t our mission to do primary research. Lies, Lies, Lies. They do other research related to CV-19, they have plenty of resources for what would cost a couple of hundred thousand dollars, at most. Here is the real interpretation: the early results showed masks didn’t make any difference so we abandoned the research because it wasn’t consistent with our beliefs or our messaging.
On a question about making student athletes wear masks in competition while the pros don’t, they gave a truly laughable answer about pros being employees. What difference could that possibly make, you have mandated that every other employee wear masks in their workplace. I mean seriously, how can they say this stuff. And they just stonewalled another modeling question. I want everyone to understand, however, that the state spent several million dollars on a model that was completely wrong, didn’t even apparently bother to try to figure out why it was wrong and left itself with no working model that should have anticipate the fall surge and at least come close to predicting what it would look like.
The answers to the three most recent questions were all just non-answers, the state apparently feels emboldened now to just ignore Scott. They refused to save if they agree or disagreed with Biden’s assertion that nothing could be done to change the epidemic trajectory; they refused to explain their dismal vaccine rollout, and they stonewalled the question about reaction to the WHO warning on PCR tests. So much for following the data or the science and being transparent with the public.
Yesterday’s briefing was mostly more excuses for the botched vaccine rollout, with continued website problems and the state finally realizing that maybe we should give the vaccine to the providers and let them get it to patients. The states with very high dose usage have been doing this from the start. A question was asked about comparisons to Wisconsin, which has had fewer restrictions than Minnesota throughout the epidemic, and which is very analogous in terms of population and demographics. The answer was evasive, but they did say that our case trajectory came down faster. That is not true. Here are the facts, according to Worldometers, Minnesota has 82,014 cases per million people and 1112 deaths per million. Wisconsin had 93,088 cases per million but only 1013 deaths. Minnesota has a far higher testing rate. It obviously has a much higher case rate of deaths and a somewhat higher per capita rate. So if you want to draw any conclusions from that, if you are concerned about keeping people from dying, don’t do what Minnesota has done. And look at the case curves on Worldometers or any other site and explain to me how you could possibly conclude that cases came down faster in Minnesota.
Another question was asked, in a somewhat bizarre manner, about people dying after receiving the vaccine and whether that was really due to the vaccine and is the Department doing messaging to reassure people. The Department said that the vaccines were thoroughly tested for safety before approval and there was no evidence of deaths being related to getting the vaccine. I would not discourage people from getting the vaccine. But, we should be honest. The trials done for the vaccines were limited and rushed. The same level of FDA oversight was not applied. The trials did not test large numbers of the elderly or pregnant women or other sub-groups, so there is no data on safety for those groups. The degree of safety studies should not be overstated. There are a few warning signs. Norway stopped vaccinating the frail elderly because of a large number of deaths after receipt of the vaccine, which probably aren’t related, but certainly bears investigating. There have been reports of miscarriages in pregnant women, so Moderna has recommended they not be vaccinated for now. So while we want people vaccinated to help limit transmission, they are also entitled to full disclosure of risks and information.
And the Osterholm-like Commissioner of Health continued to with no evidence try to terrify people by saying there continues to be a high level of cases in the state and that justifies continuing to restrict activities. That is just ridiculous. We literally have almost no cases in the state and I guarantee you that if we saw the cycle number distribution, a huge percent of those few cases that exist would have high cycle numbers. And the voluble but ignorant head of infectious disease mentioned variants as a reason for further fear. So really more of the same from the start from Minnesota, incompetence, fear mongering, inability to gather, interpret or share relevant data.