I Was Serious When I Said There Are Two Separate Epidemics in Minnesota

By April 25, 2020 Commentary

Okay, this is the danger of doing math in your head, as I was re-reading this it became apparent that it is even worse than I thought.

When I suggested in a post yesterday that there were two separate epidemics in Minnesota, I was very serious.   The epidemic has a radically different course for the general population as one group and a different one for the nursing home and other long-term care residents.  There are 5,600,000 people living in Minnesota.  About 80,000 of these live in nursing homes and other senior group settings.  So far, there have been 221 deaths in the state.  Over 150 of these have been of residents of those long-term care settings and as the days go by that proportion gets higher and higher.  No Minnesotan under the age of 50 has died, despite being almost half of all positive test results.  The state doesn’t make it easy to get the actual numbers so you can’t figure out exact rates without a little more detail.  But let us assume that 150 long-term care residents have died.  That is 150 out of 80,000 for a rate of .19%.

For the rest of the population, (and I am putting more deaths, 71, in this bucket than have occurred) the rate is .001%.  Make sure you understand that, it is not .001 it is .001%.  If there were 100,000 people from the general, non-nursing home population in a room, of all ages, 1 will have died of coronavirus disease, and that 1 would inevitably have had serious pre-existing conditions.  That is like filling the Vikings stadium, infecting everyone, and no one died.  If you are healthy and under the age of 60 in Minnesota your risk of death is currently zero.  That might change slightly as the epidemic proceeds, but let’s say it rises ten times, that is a total of 700 non-long-term care residents who die.  Interestingly, that is about where I think the model Minnesota uses, with updated parameters, will come out.  How many are going to die from the effects of the lockdown?  It will be at least that many.  These numbers might change your perception about what the right course of action is.

For the nursing home population, your risk is hundreds of times higher than the general population.  But the head of the Health Department says this is just like the flu, that population always bears the brunt of an infectious disease.  If that is true, why are we shutting everything down?  In fact, the only real epidemic in Minnesota is among long-term care residents.

Meanwhile the Governor is scaring the hell out of all Minnesotans by telling them how dangerous it is to go to work or to be out in public.  There is no danger.  But the state can’t seem to do a thing to protect those that are at much higher risk.

What more do you need to see to conclude that it is insane to do what we are doing.  We should be protecting the vulnerable and letting the rest of the state go back to work and normal life.  The Governor is misleading Minnesotans at best and destroying all of our lives in the process.

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