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Modeling finds 2.4 million Minnesotans could become infected with COVID-19

Office of the Governor

Say Glenn Howatt and Jeremy Olson in the Star Tribune, “Up to 2.4 million Minnesotans could become infected with COVID-19, according to disease modeling conducted by state and university public health experts. The stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Tim Walz Wednesday won’t necessarily bring down the number of infections. But researchers said the peak of the pandemic could be pushed back by several weeks, preserving limited health care resources while Minnesota struggles to get more masks, ventilators and testing supplies.”

For WCCO-TV, Christiane Cordero says, “The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport – which would normally be buzzing with spring break vacationers – was so quiet Wednesday that you could hear footsteps. By the afternoon, 362 flights had been cancelled for the day, with passenger screening down 85% for the time of year. As for the flights that are still on, most passengers are just trying to get home. Cora Jordan is from Spain and has lived with her host family in Mora since August. She planned to stay in Minnesota through the rest of the school year, but her plans quickly changed.”

Christopher Snowbeck writes for the Star Tribune: “A new COVID-19 test method would let patients swab their own noses for specimens at designated testing sites — an approach that could help with swab shortages and conserve dwindling supplies of protective gear for health care workers. Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group announced study results Wednesday that support the new approach, which was developed by doctors at one of the company’s clinics near Seattle.”

At KARE-TV, Boyd Huppert says, “Neighbors on a block in St. Paul are responsibly exercising their right to remain connected. Standing in chalked circles, 10 feet apart, residents of the Mac Groveland neighborhood have been gathering for nightly calisthenics. ‘Every day there are more and more neighbors, I don’t know where they’re coming from,’ Momo Hayakawa Koenigs, who leads the exercises, says. Momo grew up doing Japan’s legendary daily national exercises – and introduced the tradition to her neighbors. The gatherings also give neighbors a change to bond over toilet paper and celebrate birthdays.”

Says Nancy Ngo in the Pioneer Press, “Liquor stores will also be allowed to remain open. While cocktail rooms and taprooms are now closed, they continue to abide by the same off-sale licensing rules as they had prior to the pandemic. That means distilleries can continue to sell a 375-milliliter bottle of spirits per customer per day to go. Breweries that had been selling crowlers and growlers for customers to take home can continue to do so. However, some local distilleries and breweries have halted operations and it’s recommended that customers check in with the individual businesses for the latest updates.”

The AP reports: “One of Minnesota’s top public defenders was reinstated Wednesday, three months after being placed on paid leave pending an investigation into her performance. Mary Moriarty welcomed the decision, saying she will continue to be an outspoken advocate for racial justice and marginalized communities. … Moriarty, appointed in 2014, received an outpouring of support from public defenders and legal rights advocates nationwide after she was placed on leave in December with no clear explanation from the State Board.”

This from WMTV in Wisconsin. “Sixteen companies in Wisconsin have been sent cease and desist letters from the state’s consumer protection agency for allegedly gouging prices on everything from toilet paper to surgical masks, cleaning wipes to limes. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said Wednesday that it has sent the letters to companies including Menards, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart. A letter also went to for allegedly price gouging for N95 masks, which are in short supply and critical for health care workers dealing with COVID-19 patients.”

For RawStory, Brad Reed writes, “Richard Kovacevich, the former CEO of Wells Fargo, wants Americans to get back to their jobs — even if it kills them. In an interview with Bloomberg, Kovacevich said that he thinks we have to get Americans working again sometime by the end of next month. Although he’d prefer to have them come back after the coronavirus pandemic is under control, he said the risks to the economy were too great to keep them out much longer. ‘We’ll gradually bring those people back and see what happens,’ he said. ‘Some of them will get sick, some may even die, I don’t know… Do you want to suffer more economically or take some risk that you’ll get flu-like symptoms and a flu-like experience? Do you want to take an economic risk or a health risk? You get to choose.’”

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Pat Berg since 2011 on 03/26/2020 - 05:54 am.

    Quoting a meme I saw online, “And just like that, conservatives went from screaming about Obama’s ‘death panels” to asking how quickly we can kill Grandma to help Wall Street.”

  2. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 03/26/2020 - 07:40 am.

    Mr Kovacevich, why don’t you go volunteer as an orderly at a hospital before offering opinions on what other should do?

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 03/26/2020 - 08:00 am.

    Mr. Kovacevich has much in common with Texas’ Dan Patrick. It’s often illuminating to see what people really, truly value, I suppose. Apparently, both Mr. Kovacevich and Mr. Patrick are willing to sacrifice someone’s grandfather in order to prop up the value of a stock portfolio.

  4. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 03/26/2020 - 09:48 pm.

    Latest data shows those graphs are wrong. Birx and Fauci have both now admitted the data didn’t support their models. They’ve also admitted that either R0 is way off or the virus has a very high silent spread rate or both. The data also doesn’t support the policies of closing down businesses or schools or the whole state.

    If the claimed R0 is wrong, then social distancing is useless because the virus simply isn’t spreading as fast as they claimed. If we base it on confirmed cases, then that is true. 387 people out of 5.6 million is such a small percent that there is no chance it could overwhelm the medical system.

    If the virus has a high silent spread rate, then the mortality rate and other numbers are actually significantly lower and we’re very far into this outbreak.. close to the end. It means that many thousands in the state have already had the virus and recovered (ie showed no symptoms or very mild symptoms).

    The most likely scenario is that this virus is spreading rapidly but silently and has been here since at least December if not November. The testing done in Iceland supports this as they have 1% of their population testing positive for antibodies. That puts them around generation 20. We have a new Reuters poll out saying 2.3% of Americans claim they have been diagnosed with Covid19. If that number is even remotely close that puts us with Iceland which is where we should be. In order to have those kinds of numbers, the virus is either spreading much faster (higher R0) or it’s been here longer. We know that the first cases in China appear to have been in October. That means for 2+ months many thousands traveled between China and the US (and many other nations) before anyone claimed the first case of Covid19 officially. And if we look at the CDC flu death data, we see that we had a large spike in December but only 20% have tested positive for Influenza A or B. So the other 80% died of something else… can’t be all pneumonia as that would have sparked an epidemic call for it. It’s quite likely a good number of those deaths were covid19 that wasn’t being tested for at the time.

    The real tell will be antibody testing in the US. Once that gets going we will know exactly what generation we are on and it’s very likely to be much farther along than the Governor claims.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 03/27/2020 - 10:37 am.

      Where did Dr. Fauci say that? I can’t find a reference.

      Yes, Dr. Birx did say “There is no model right now — no reality on the ground where we can see that 60% to 70% of Americans are going to get infected in the next eight to 12 weeks.” That, however, is a long way from saying “social distancing is useless.”

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