If you wonder why I seem a little harsher on our Governor here in Minnesota the last few days, let me explanation the evolution of my thinking. I actually like the Governor as person, what I saw of him from a distance, he seemed like a decent, intelligent person. And I assumed he was doing what he should do–get all the facts, consult with a variety, not just one group, of experts, a make decisions in the best interest of everyone. Over time, as I have watched the briefings day after day, while I admire his performance, he has come to seem to me to be doing the typical politician things, which I detest. This includes providing one-sided information, refusing to admit possible errors, using subtle messaging that anyone who doesn’t agree with his approach is un-Minnesotan, and trotting people out at press briefings that only agree with what he is doing. And I find it disgusting that he keeps talking about being data driven when he ignores all the evolving information about the real course and risks of the epidemic, while not even attempting to gather facts on what the economic and other damage from his orders would be. So that is why I have become pretty disgruntled with his handling of the epidemic.
And here is a classic example of government at work. A friend asked the state Department of Health communications staff a question, and here is the evasive, weaselly, messaging, non-response he received.
Question: Referring to the 286 total deaths to date, every decedent under age 70 has died in long-term care or similar setting. The youngest person to die outside long-term care was in his 70’s. Why is it necessary to close the schools and shut down the state to protect the at-risk population?We have had deaths in people younger than 70 and certainly many cases in all age groups. It is necessary to take the community mitigation measures we have because all Minnesotans are at risk from COVID 19, as none of us has immunity. Some people, like those in long-term-care and those with underlying health conditions, are far more at risk than others. But if we didn’t reduce transmission in the community as we have with the stay at home order, we would see far more disease circulating and many times more serious cases that would quickly overwhelm our health care system. Then, even less-vulnerable people would not be able to get the care they needed, such as intensive care, ventilators, etc., so we would see far more deaths in people outside of the very frail and elderly. That is what has happened in places like Italy and New York.