My treat for the holiday weekend was not to listen to the Incompetent Blowhard’s press conference on Thursday until this morning. Right after I noted that he had been absent for some time, he decided to revisit upon us his torrent of words. He really is astoundingly predictable, that same old set of manipulating techniques, that same ability to ignore the real data and research, that same refusal to actually work in a democratic fashion with others, rather than controlling everything himself. The supposed purpose for the conference was to warn people about the dangerous Labor Day weekend ahead and to do somewhat of a summary of where we have been and where we are. I could have written the script and told you exactly what he would say two months ago, that is how predictable the content was. As usual, it is hard to know where to start or how best to address the many misleading things that spew forth from the human volcano of misinformation that is our very own Incompetent Blowhard.
A couple of times he mentioned how bad the US response has been compared to other countries. If mortality is the measure, I invite you all to go to the Worldometers website and do the comparison with other countries. It actually looks like most people end up in roughly the same place. I suspect if we had the same testing levels and strategies every place, we would see the same thing on cases. Especially compared with Europe, our closest analog, we are doing no worse. And he said that we are doing better than our neighboring states, which simply is not true. Wisconsin is the most similar state and has much better mortality statistics than Minnesota, despite at least as high a case rate. Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota have all done much better than Minnesota, and there is no alarming rise in cases or outcomes in any of these states. And all those states have suffered far less economic damage. So I don’t know where he gets the idea that somehow his brilliant leadership has protected Minnesotans.
Masks got some attention. He made an unforced error by saying, his words, that wearing masks had a “big impact”. I think we have sufficiently demolished that argument. But he did later in response to a question use one the claims I knew we would see, he said that cases would have been even higher if it weren’t for the masks. He made some reference to modeling, and what the models said might happen in Minnesota in the future and that while models weren’t perfect, “good models predict trends”. I would like to know what his evaluation of the Minnesota model he relied upon to destroy our economy and health would be. From other people at the press conference we heard the same garbage about high levels of cases, the new bullshit about long-term health consequences, about asymptomatic spread, about social event outbreaks.
The usual emphasis on more testing, which will be “the key to getting us out of this”. Based on what we know about testing, it is leading to really bad policy right now because the state has failed to properly evaluate the threshholds for determining positivity, or to identify false positive issues. We don’t need more testing, we need smarter testing. The state right now, immediately, should begin double testing every positive result. It should take a random sample of positives and test them by culture for actual viability. This testing problem is a big deal. It will lead to schools being unnecessarily shut down and businesses as well. People will be frightened and forced to quarantine when they either weren’t positive at all or weren’t infectious. Getting testing right is the single biggest problem.
In response to an excellent question about whether he was being alarmist, given the actual statistics, the Blowhard replied with one of my least favorite of his tactics, he said “the virus dictates” what happens and what we do. No, you do, you have taken it upon yourself to unilaterally determine life for Minnesotans and the consequences of your unilateral actions are what is determining outcomes. And of course, in response to concerns about what is happening economically, to bars and restaurants especially, he used my absolute least favorite of his lies; he again claimed that he was being “balanced”. Most Minnesotans would beg to disagree at this point, and the increasing number who have actually been killed by his reign of terrorization, probably would be the strongest objectors if they were still around.