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FDA accused of misrepresenting Mayo blood plasma study

Plus: Pence to visit Duluth Friday; Minneapolis’ Black Visions collective; Jeremiah Ellison profile; and more.

Commissioner of U.S. Food and Drug Administration Dr. Stephen M. Hahn
Commissioner of U.S. Food and Drug Administration Dr. Stephen M. Hahn speaking during a Sunday news conference about the latest coronavirus disease developments.
REUTERS/Erin Scott

This is all very reassuring. The New York Times’ Katie Thomas and Sheri Fink report: “At a news conference on Sunday announcing the emergency approval of blood plasma for hospitalized Covid-19 patients, President Trump and two of his top health officials cited the same statistic: that the treatment had reduced deaths by 35 percent. …But scientists were taken aback by the way the administration framed this data, which appeared to have been calculated based on a small subgroup of hospitalized Covid-19 patients in a Mayo Clinic study: those who were under 80 years old, not on ventilators and received plasma known to contain high levels of virus-fighting antibodies within three days of diagnosis. … What’s more, many experts — including a scientist who worked on the Mayo Clinic study — were bewildered about where the statistic came from. The number was not mentioned in the official authorization letter issued by the agency, nor was it in a 17-page memo written by F.D.A. scientists. It was not in an analysis conducted by the Mayo Clinic that has been frequently cited by the administration.”

Veep visit this week. The Duluth News Tribune’s Brady Slater reports: “Rob Abernethy recalled the last time Vice President Mike Pence was in Duluth — two years ago this month during lead-up to midterm elections. … ‘That was one of the greatest things that ever happened to us,’ said Abernethy, one of four sibling owners of Industrial Weldors & Machinists, which hosted Pence’s visit in August 2018 in West Duluth. … Abernethy will try to be on hand Friday, when Pence appears again in Duluth at 12:30 p.m. at the Clure Public Marine Terminal. … A noon counter event nearby on Rice’s Point Landing, hosted by the local Catholic Worker Movement, is aimed at protecting the vote and the U.S. Postal Service — under fire for cutbacks that have slowed mail delivery during a time of heavy mail-in voting.”

Long profile on the activists behind Black Visions. The New York Times’s Jenna Wortham writes: “Black Visions was established three years ago as a political and community base for Black people in Minneapolis. It regularly orchestrates rallies like the one in Powderhorn Park and for years has done the mundane municipal work of protesting budgets and holding public educational sessions on policy issues — focusing on police violence in particular and taking care to contextualize it within a broader system of racism. When Floyd’s death thrust Minneapolis into the national spotlight, Black Visions drew attention as a Black-led group with deep ties to queer, immigrant and transgender communities, and it became the default local organization to support. Links to its donation page materialized on countless resource lists and Instagram Stories, funneling a staggering total of $30 million to the group.”

And here’s a profile of Minneapolis City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison. For Jewish Insider, Matthew Kassel writes: “In a way, Ellison could also have been talking about his time as a city councilman representing Minneapolis’s Fifth Ward, where he was born and raised. The activist-turned-politician came to prominence as a public figure five years ago, when he appeared in a viral photo while protesting the police killing of a young, unarmed Black man, Jamar Clark. Though Ellison once defiantly addressed city councilmembers with his back to them, he has taken a somewhat more measured approach since joining their ranks in 2018. … Not that Ellison is new to politics by any means. As the son of Keith Ellison — Minnesota’s attorney general and a former congressman — he is attuned to the vicissitudes of governance. But it is one thing to watch from afar and quite another to do it day in and day out. When he was elected, Ellison hoped to focus on housing equality and economic development at the hyperlocal level. ‘That’s sort of where I really wanted to stake my claim,’ he said.”

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Sad news. KMSP’s Tim Blotz reports:A janitor’s union announced a second Minneapolis janitor has died from COVID-19. … Lorenzo Palma died Aug. 3 from the virus. Previously, he was an essential worker cleaning the Ameriprise building downtown Minneapolis. … Monday, Palma’s co-workers and his daughter joined SEIU Local 26 President Iris Altamirano to mourn Palma’s death and call for added support for essential workers.”

In other news…

Pork spending:Hormel Foods to provide free college education to the children of its employees” [Austin Daily Herald]

Interesting:Read the deeply humane letter KFAN’s Mark Rosen got from Joe Biden” [City Pages]

Watch this be their year:Minnesota Vikings will open season at U.S. Bank Stadium without fans” [Star Tribune]

Oh, great:CWD spreads in Minnesota deer, but COVID-19 may make monitoring harder” [Owatonna People’s Press]

Cheers to this:Heavy Table, the popular local dining- and cooking-focused website, returns” [Star Tribune]

It’s a lot:A List of Restaurant Closings 2020” [Minneapolis.St.Paul]