SCENE: Mitch BERG is out at Menards picking up some shop towels for making face masks out of. While looking around a corner, he runs smack-dab into Avery LIBRELLE
BERG: Ah, sssssss….sssshure is nice to see you. How are you doing, Avery?
LIBRELLE: You conservatives sure did yuk it up over the Trump Virus spreading through blue cities.
BERG: No, nobody “yukked it up”. But there certainly seems to be a correlation between pandemics and blue cities, which tend to be very mass-transit dependent, and have populations even denser than some of their mayors, like DiBlasio.
LIBRELLE: Hah! Well, red states shall get their comeuppance!
BERG: Perhaps. Epidemics follow biological rules, not political ones.
LIBRELLE: Pffft. Look at South Dakota. Governor Noem refuses to order South Dakotans to stay at home! And now the virus is out of control!
BERG: South Dakota’s case rate is very heavily skewed because of a big outbreak at a pork processor in Sioux Falls, which has skewed the state’s cases per million waaay up; as of April 14, South Dakota had 1,142 cases per million; Minnesota has 307. But that’s very skewed – South Dakota doesn’t have a million people, so an outbreak causes a disproportionate jump in per capita numbers.
LIBRELLE: Not issuing draconian stay at home orders kills!
BERG: Enh. South Dakota’s death rate per million is 7, which is half Minnesota’s rate. Both of those will change, especially if the cases in Sioux Falls manage to overwhelm the region’s healthcare system…
LIBRELLE: …which is will !
BERG: …which it’s not. And God willing it won’t.
LIBRELLE: Oh, you and your God and thoughts and prayers. Science! It shows governors need to put their foot down!
BERG: North Dakota, which has about the same population and population density as South Dakota and has taken a similar set of approaches to the epidemic, but which has no outbreak like the Smithfield plant, has statistically similar cases and deaths per million as Minnesota with Governor Walz’s much more draconian approach. And yes, the outbreaks have been going on about the same length of time in all three states.
LIBRELLE: MERG! If Governor Noem hadn’t been a stupid red-state governor and issued a stay at home order, the Smithfield outbreak wouldn’t have happened!
BERG: So what kinds of businesses are exempt and “essential” under the MInnesota shelter in place order?
LIBRELLE: Essential stuff like grocery stores, liquor stores, Democratic political action groups, medical stuff…
BERG: What do they do at that Smithfield plant?
LIBRELLE: I don’t know. It’s South Dakota. I have no idea. Aren’t they Amish? I’m gonna guess Amish furniture.
BERG: It’s a pork processing plant. Where exactly do you think the food that the grocery stores sell, comes from?
BERG: Yeah, food processing plants are pretty much open everywhere…
( But LIBRELLE has skipped away, pushing a cart full of plastic bags to use as make-shift head coverings).