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Trump projects 100,000 to 240,000 fatalities in the United States from coronavirus

Plus: health systems in Minnesota feeling financial hit from pandemic; Polaris to temporarily furlough some workers; crowds at Minneapolis lakes continue to ignore social distancing guidelines; and more.

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump standing in front of a chart labeled “Goals of Community Mitigation” showing projected deaths in the United States after exposure to coronavirus as 1,500,000 - 2,200,000 without any intervention and a projected 100,000 - 240,000 deaths with intervention.
REUTERS/Tom Brenner

In the Washington Post, Philip Rucker and William Wan write: “President Trump and the physicians advising the federal pandemic response on Tuesday delivered a bleak outlook for the novel coronavirus’s spread across the country, predicting a best-case scenario of 100,000 to 240,000 fatalities in the United States and summoning all Americans to make additional sacrifices to slow the spread. Trump adopted a newly somber and sedate tone … as he instructed Americans to continue social distancing, school closures and other mitigation efforts for an additional 30 days and to think of the choices they make as matters of life and death.

The Forum News Service’s Dana Ferguson writes: “Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday, March 31, said he’ll greenlight state workers’ compensation for emergency responders who contract the coronavirus while on the job if lawmakers aren’t willing to tackle the issue. The governor made the comment after firefighters, police officers, nurses, corrections workers and others working in public health last week said they would remain on the hook for the cost of their health care and sick leave if they contract COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, while on the front lines.”

In the Star Tribune, Christopher Snowbeck reports, “Minnesota health systems are feeling financial pain from the shutdown in elective health care procedures, with revenue cuts prompting unpaid leaves and reduced hours for workers not directly involved with the response to COVID-19. M Health Fairview, which is one of the state’s largest health care providers, said Tuesday it expects to reduce some staff work hours beginning Monday. The Mayo Clinic is reducing or temporarily suspending hours or projects for supplemental or contract workers. Duluth-based Essentia Health has placed 500 nonmedical employees on unpaid leave.”

In the Pioneer Press, Kathy Berdan writes: “The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts laid off staff Tuesday and cut the pay of those remaining by 20 percent due to the shutdown of the theater amid the coronavirus pandemic. Ordway CEO Jamie Grant said the St. Paul performing arts center went from 478 active employees to 46. … ‘Most have jobs related to shows,’ Grant said. ‘If there are no shows, there are no jobs.’”

The Star Tribune’s Dee DePass says, “Polaris Inc. will temporarily furlough some workers and cut pay of others, the company said Tuesday in its latest step to survive the severe downturn resulting from the corona­virus outbreak. … Polaris last week closed all its manufacturing plants … and said it would re-evaluate after one week. On Tuesday, it said select manufacturing will restart this week for ‘products with adequate demand and supply-chain coverage.’”

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Says Reg Chapman for WCCO-TV,Thousands of people sat in their cars waiting for free food passed out by a local church on Friday. Serenity Village Community Church in Crystal, Minnesota worked with restaurants, food distributors and closed food shelves to pass out more than 250 tons of food to anyone who needed it. The line started forming early in the morning, and stretched out a near ten block radius.”

A FOX9 story says, “Researchers at the University of Minnesota studied how mutations made the novel coronavirus attach more strongly to human cells, allowing it to infect and spread faster than similar viruses before it. … In research published in the journal Nature, researcher Fang Li and her team determined a mutation in the structural makeup of a protein found on SARS-CoV-2 allowed the virus to connect to human cells more strongly than SARS. … Now, the research team is looking take the information learned about SARS-CoV-2’s structure to develop antibodies or vaccines that can target how the virus binds to human cells. The researchers also found genetic evidence that bats may be the source of SARS-CoV-2 and pangolins may act as intermediate hosts for the virus.”

Says Joe Nelson at BringMeTheNews, “Minnesotans have done a good job with social distancing over the past couple of weeks, but one of the hot spots for people breaking social distancing guidance is at the lakes in Minneapolis. ‘We’re seeing crowds that are a little too big, especially around the lakes,’ said Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday.  Bde Maka Ska, Harriet, Lake of the Isles, and Nokomis are popular destinations for walkers, bicyclists and joggers, and when the weather gets nice – as it has the past two days – they’re even more likely to attract Minnesotans looking to get some fresh air.”

Also in the Star Tribune, Libor Jany reports, “A high-ranking Minneapolis police official apologized for a Facebook post about homicide investigations that sparked controversy online and drew rebukes from both Chief Medaria Arradondo and the NAACP. The criticism started after Cmdr. Kim Lund Voss posted a photo of an old T-shirt with crime scene tape and a chalk outline of a body drawn on it, and the words: ‘MINNEAPOLIS POLICE HOMOCIDE DIVISION Our Day Starts When Yours Ends.’ The phrase is commonly found on police-themed T-shirts, mugs and other memorabilia.”

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