Minnesota Versus Wisconsin, Updated

By June 29, 2020 Commentary

States bordering each other, similar population size, density and composition.  One ended its statewide lockdown on May 13 by court order, in the other, the Dictator is holding on to every shred of power he can, desperate to avoid close scrutiny of his rationale for an extreme lockdown.  So how have these two states faired recently.  Below is a table showing from May 29, when the effects of lifting Wisconsin’s statewide lockdown should have begun to be apparent, through June 21, showing new tests, cases, hospitalizations and deaths, by day in each state.  Note that there is one day in Wisconsin in which they apparently adjusted deaths and took a net one off.  You could do seven day rolling averages, but you would get the same picture.  According to COVID Tracking, Minnesota has performed 513,000 tests and Wisconsin 492,000, so roughly similar.  Because of a lag in how Minnesota reports cases, I used COVID Tracking for the last week of case data.  Minnesota also had issues at one point with test reporting so there is a day or so that looks weird but cumulative numbers are right.

Hospitalizations reporting is not helpful in most states, really just reflects the daily change in number of people in the hospital.  New admissions would be more helpful.  Wisconsin had 25068 cases, 3231 hospitalizations and 745 deaths cumulatively through June 22nd, according to the same source.  Minnesota had 33227 cases, 3830 hospitalizations and 1416 deaths.  Wisconsin’s case hospitalization rate is 12.9%, Minnesota’s is slightly better at 11.5%.  Wisconsin’s case death rate is 3.0%, Minnesota’s is 4.2%.  In last week or so, much more testing in Minnesota and therefore more cases.  Hospitalization change is relatively the same in the two states, but Minnesota continues to have an elevated daily number of deaths.  So why is Wisconsin doing so much better on deaths, notwithstanding the more relaxed mitigating measures?  And if lockdowns are so important, why aren’t Wisconsin’s numbers worse cumulatively, and certainly worse in recent weeks?

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