We are now officially not far above the same death toll from COVID-19 as we were from the 2017-18 flu season. We have 591 COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota as of press time on Monday. The 2017-18 flu season resulted in 446 deaths.
We’ve tried to be positive as a paper but are running out of “positive” COVID-19 human interest stories. The kind of stories we would like to see more of now are the kind where our freedoms are restored and where local stores, restaurants/bars, launch services and fishing guides are allowed to go about their business.
Gov. Walz says, “We can’t get it wrong.” But he did get it wrong.
The model which influenced his administration predicted 50,000 COVID-19 deaths if the state had done nothing and 22,000 deaths over the course of the year if we did something. We’re still waiting for “Model 3.0” as the models they pay attention to keep changing. Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm admitted that there is a “divergence” between the models they’ve used that predict the cases we will have.
We’ve spent all the surplus, and now we’re in deficit spending up to $2.4 billion in Minnesota. The state wants to spend $250 million on contact tracing as they go forward in the “test, trace and isolate” regimen.
Where is this money going to come from? Will anyone in the legislature give up their sacred cows when it comes to setting the budget for next year? Or will the field just be filled with more cows than ever? And at whose expense? ... the people who have been put out of work and haven’t been able to receive unemployment benefits that were promised by our government? ... or the businesses that have been shut down and aren’t sure if they’ll open back up at all?
As we enter into this very expensive contact tracing, then what? The government is allowed to illegally, in my opinion, track us through our phone location settings and then force us into isolation if we have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient, whether we have the virus or not. Where does our “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” factor into the government’s isolation plan?
All questions we need to be addressing with our government officials.
Colleges are closing their doors for good. Many businesses are closing their doors for good, not to mention what will happen to the hotel, resort and travel industry. We thought 911 was bad for the airline industry; the COVID-19 crisis we’ve been launched into says “hold my beer.”
We don’t want to hear the same mantra, “people are going to die.” We know people are going to die. We pray it’s not our loved ones and that no one dies, but we understand people are going to die. People die from many things all the time.
I would like to hear a new mantra from our Governor. Something like, “I care about this state that I’m running and no longer declare myself the sole judge of who gets to continue in their livelihoods and who doesn’t.”
Gov. Walz said from the beginning that these are horrible choices and there are no good choices between balancing deaths and the long-term impact. He also said, “Folks are not going to go back if they don’t feel safe.” Tell that to the people gathered at Lake Bde Maka Ska where social distancing seemed to be disregarded altogether over a week ago when I went for a walk around the lake with family.
It’s time for you, Gov. Walz, to get it right. Turn this sinking ship around and allow people to be responsible for their own health and way of life.
Traci LeBrun is the editor of the Messenger.