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Study finds disproportionate hospitalizations for Blacks and Hispanics in Minnesota with COVID-19

Plus: St. Paul Mayor Carter calls for more guaranteed income experiments; COVID-19 aid slow to flow to Minneapolis health department; Minneapolis Fifth Precinct vandalized during Saturday protest; and more.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Pretty wide gaps here. The Star Tribune’s Christopher Snowbeck reports: “A new study finds that African-Americans in Minnesota and 11 other states are being hospitalized for COVID-19 at a rate that exceeds their share of the population. It’s the latest in a series of reports showing how the pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minority groups. … In Minnesota, researchers found that Blacks account for about 25% of COVID-19 hospitalizations, even though their share of the population is much lower, about 7%. Hispanics in Minnesota account for about 16% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and about 6% of the population.”

A new safety net. NBC News’ Ben Kesslen reports: “Melvin Carter, the mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, watched his city’s twin, Minneapolis, burn this spring as people gathered in protest and fury over the death of George Floyd and the treatment of Black people at the hands of police. Carter knew his city’s residents were aggrieved not only by decades of mistreatment, but also by the entrenched poverty that accompanied it. … A month before Floyd’s death May 25, Carter’s office had given 1,265 families one-time payments of $1,000 through a temporary program called the Bridge Fund. The emergency relief diminished some hardships, but it hasn’t been nearly enough. Carter wants a longer-term solution. … As the pandemic devastates the bank accounts of American families, mayors like Carter are proposing guaranteed income experiments, or universal basic income, as a simple, scalable and equitable solution for families and local economies.

Help is on the way … eventually. For the AP, Michelle R. Smith, Lauren Weber, Hannah Recht and Laura Ungar report: “As the novel coronavirus began to spread through Minneapolis this spring, Health Commissioner Gretchen Musicant tore up her budget to find funds to combat the crisis. Money for test kits. Money to administer tests. Money to hire contact tracers. And yet even more money for a service that helps tracers communicate with residents in dozens of languages. … While Musicant diverted workers from violence prevention and other core programs to the COVID-19 response, state officials debated how to distribute $1.87 billion Minnesota received in federal aid. … As she waited, the Minnesota Zoo got $6 million in federal money to continue operations, and a debt collection company outside Minneapolis received at least $5 million from the federal Paycheck Protection Program, according to federal data. … It was not until Aug. 5 — months after Congress approved aid for the pandemic — that Musicant’s department finally received $1.7 million, the equivalent of $4 per Minneapolis resident.

Weekend protest. WCCO reports:Minneapolis police say a group marched to the 5th Precinct Saturday night, vandalizing the exterior of the building with graffiti and paint. Police say some officers were also targeted with commercial grade fireworks. … Police say officers witnessed 50 to 60 people marching towards the precinct, located at East 31st Street and Nicollet Avenue, at about 10:10 p.m. Officers say it appeared peaceful at first, but the group became violent once arriving at the precinct. … Authorities reported protesters throwing large rocks and paint on the building and on cameras. It was also reported that commercial-grade fireworks were shot at officers, but no one was injured.”

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In other news…

Speaking tonight:Amy Klobuchar to be the face of Minnesota in a largely virtual Democratic convention” [Star Tribune]

Solid majorities:Poll: Most Minneapolis residents support Black Lives Matter, believe George Floyd’s death part of a bigger problem” [Star Tribune]

Everyone OK:3 people leap for their lives off burning boat into Lake Minnetonka” [Star Tribune]