Current Events

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

I went online to watch Governor Walz March 25 video explaining why the
Stay Home order was required. I think it’s useful to remember why we
started down this road.

In the video, Governor Walz explained that if we did nothing, upwards of
74,000 Minnesotans of all ages would die, from 6 months to 90 years
old. It was already too late to “flatten the curve;” testing didn’t get
started early enough. All we could do was push the peak out, delay it
until we could get ready for the surge of Covid-19 cases that the
computer model predicted was coming. If we did nothing, the surge would
hit in 6 weeks (May 8th). If we did nothing, 2.4 million Minnesotans
would be infected, 85% of them mildly, 15% requiring hospitalization,
and 5% requiring ICU care.

I’m not clear if Governor Walz meant 5% of the whole 2.4 million =
120,000 people in ICU; or 5% of the 15% who are hospitalized = 18,000 in
ICU. Either way, we only had 235 ICU beds at the time of the first
order. We didn’t have enough ICU beds, ventilators, masks to care for
that many ICU patients. Thousands would die, untreated.

If Minnesotans heeded his order to Stay Home, we would slow the spread
of the infection. 2.4 million were still going to get it, but not right
away. That gave us time to prepare for the ICU surge. With Stay Home
in place, the ICU surge would be delayed until late May or June. By
then, we’d be ready for the 120,000 (or 18,000) ICU patients. We’d
convert arenas, stadiums, motels, into temporary hospitals providing as
many as 1,000 ICU beds. Still had to work on getting ventilators and
masks, etc., but if we had enough time to prepare, we’d save lives.
Governor Walz asked for two weeks to delay the surge so we would have
time to prepare. That’s why the original order lasted two weeks.

I went online to watch Governor Walz video explaining the extension of
the Stay Home order. He said we were making progress. The infection
curve was pretty much flat. That’s good because it buys us time to
prepare for the surge, and there is a surge of hospitalizations coming.
We’re going to need a MINIMUM of 3,000 ICU beds starting in mid-May,
could last into July, could need more beds.

Current ICU bed capacity at the time of the extension was 1,000 but we
can double it in 24 hours, triple it in 72 hours. Another 3,000 beds
coming online in alternate facilities but not for Covid patients, those
are for displaced patients from other hospitalizations. According to
the model, we now have plenty of ICU beds but we’re still facing a
shortage of ventilators. We have 2,500, we need 3,000, we have none in
reserve, they’re all in use. They’re on back-order. Minnesotans need
to stay home to delay the hospitalization surge until the back-ordered
ventilators arrive. And there’s still a shortage of masks. Supply
chain disrupted world-wide. Minnesotans need to stay home to delay the
hospitalization surge until mask supply arrives.

The Governor assured us the experts were constantly updating the model.
Ro increased from 2.4 to 4.0 (formerly, we thought each infected person
transmitted it to 2.4 people, now it’s assumed to be 4 people, spreads
much faster than thought). Hospitalization severity and length of stay
also adjusted (didn’t say up or down). If we drop restrictions, the
surge of hospitalizations comes rushing toward us and we’re not ready.
Thousands will die. Stay Home to save lives.

My thoughts:

The plan originally was sold on the basis that this virus attacked
everybody, babies to elderly, we’re all equally at risk of dying from
it. Data from around the world (and around Minnesota) suggest that’s
not true. This virus attacks the same people as every other influenza
virus – seniors and those with a compromised immune system. The
scariest basis for the order, is gone.

The plan originally was sold on the basis that a two week delay would
suffice, we’d have time to prepare for the surge of cases. Because the
whole thing depends on a surge of cases slamming our hospitals in a few
weeks. The Governor’s models confidently proved it would happen, we
were going to get slammed, it was only a matter of time. Except . . .
Dr. Fauci of the CDC now says he expects this to be similar to a bad flu
season, maybe 60,000 dead nationwide. And nobody else is seeing a
surge. If there’s no surge coming, then the entire basis for the order
is gone.

Assuming the surge hits as planned in May, Governor Walz says we’ll need
3,000 ICU beds and we’re ready for that, but still not enough
ventilators or masks. No word on why that’s such a problem. If the My
Pillow guy can make masks, why can’t Minnesota figure out a way to
acquire them? Can’t we ask idled machine shops and metal workers and
backyard mechanics to cobble up machines? We only need a couple of
thousand more ventilators – how hard can it be? I’m guessing the
Governor means “FDA certified and approved” which, obviously, takes time
and raises the cost. How many patients would say, “Oh, no, don’t treat
me wearing that un-certified mask, leave me to die.” Can’t we by-pass
the certification process for this world-ending emergency?

The plan was sold on the basis that we’d be saving lives. The math
doesn’t work for me. Assuming the best numbers, if 18,000 will need ICU
beds but we only have 3,000, then when the surge hits we’re still short
thousands of ICU beds so all of those people are going to die. By my
math, the Stay Home saves 2,765 lives (the difference between 235 ICU
beds before and 3,000 ICU beds after). And who are those people? Based
on experience to date, they’re nursing home patients with preexisting
conditions who are going to die soon, anyway.

The cost of providing this end-of-life care is incredible. 375,000
Minnesotans have applied for unemployment. Our unemployment rate is
over 11%. And those are only the people who qualify. Small business
owners, restaurant owners, landlords, independent contractors,
commissioned sales – they don’t get unemployment. The Governor says
that with Minnesota’s generous unemployment benefits coupled with the
federal $600, many people actually will make as much or more then they
did before. I’ll believe that when I see it.

Point is, we’re shutting down the entire state for months, costing
millions, destroying wealth and lives and careers, turning citizens
against each other, betting a surge is coming and that we’ll be able to
buy a short end-of-life extension for a few thousand old folks. That
might be a wise public policy trade-off, or it might not. But it’s
something that ought to be debated in public, with the costs and
benefits weighed, not decided unilaterally and continued indefinitely.

I call on the Legislature to hold public hearings on whether to continue
the state of emergency, or to end it.

Joe Doakes

When Norway – as top-down communitarian a state as there is, which had a hard, sharp attack of Covid and a sharper reaction to seeing Italy and Spain’s agony, and closed down hard (and suffered more deaths than Minnesota, so far, with a similar population) – is moving to lift its lockdown now, even given their immense savings and the ability it gives them to ride out crises, that should tell us something.

83 thoughts on “Current Events

  1. There are “tells” in writing which provide clues to authorship.

    Emery thinks that it’s dumb for a business owner to want to be able to reopen his business because the customers are too scared to come so he’ll be wasting time and money with an open but empty business.

    This is a “tell” that Emery has never run his own business. Those of you who have run your own business, who have sat waiting for that first customer to arrive as I have, and who busted your butt so that customer would not only come back but would bring friends, know exactly what I’m talking about.

    For Emery to tell us we’re stupid to act that way, is . . . .

  2. Emery wants the economy to collapse & millions to be out of work, hungry, and homeless. Because of the incompetence and stupidity of Trump! He wants Trump to be so terrible that he ends the world.
    I mean it when I say it is a mental illness. Emery is not sane.

  3. Emery is as pure example of Bergs 8th Law as I have seen. Even more so than DG or Pen.

  4. You can take comfort from the fact that Emery’s imagined future always stays safely in his imagination.
    Remember when he was squawking about “ventilator” shortages, back when the MSM was squawking about ventilators? Turns out that a ventilator shortage never developed, in part because the cases of covid-19 flattened, but also because it turns out the things kill people.

  5. Trump says he will use the Defense Production Act to compel companies to make more swabs for testing.

    Well done mr president— it’s April 19th 👍

  6. Go for it, Emery!
    How is the molecular test administered?

    Molecular tests typically involve inserting a 6-inch long swab into the back of the nasal passage through one nostril and rotating the swab several times for 15 seconds. This process is then repeated through the other nostril. The swab is then inserted into a container and sent to a lab for testing. With the introduction of portable/point-of-care testing, these tests can even be done entirely in the provider offices or even the parking lot of a drive-thru testing site.

  7. I am growing more certain that Emery is DG. The lack of analytical thought is like a fingerprint.
    Over 40 companies have begin to make the swab test kits. Apparently they are dragging their feet so more people will die. Or so they will lose money. Something like that.

  8. But, you see, to a person with Trump Derangement Syndrome, everything goes back to Trump. He is the Prime Mover, their God.

  9. Different styles, MP. DG is more like Penny: long diatribes full of BS that simply overwhelm one’s desire to fact check. The little weasel is more like a terrorist throwing a hand-grenade or two, shooting up the place, and then running away… OK, OK, both just run away.

  10. on my tiny little island, they have been offering free tests for the last three weeks. You don’t even have to get out of your car. You need a doctors note, though, or perfectly healthy numbskulls would be out getting tested every day (or more often).

  11. FYI, it is well established in the US that once you have been identified as carrying a pandemic disease, you can be forcibly quarantined at a place convenient to the government.
    There is no reason for people who are not involved in the medical system to be tested.

  12. MP, impossible, DG made crazy long winded rants, as bad as Emery is he at least tries to use reason and logo, key word tries

  13. When it turns out that, like ventilators, testing is not the silver bullet that makes covid-19 go away, Emery will be on to something else. I am guessing it will be contact-tracing.
    I’ve heard that Apple & Google have a contact tracer that works on a cell phone’s bluetooth system. Since I keep my bluetooth off, wouldn’t work for me.

  14. MP i disagree, once the antibody test is widely available people need to be tested because early samples suggest anywhere from 60-80% of the people who get infected are asymptomatic.

  15. Prince of Darkness_666 on April 19, 2020 at 7:31 pm said:

    MP, impossible, DG made crazy long winded rants, as bad as Emery is he at least tries to use reason and logo, key word tries
    No, he does not. Look at his witless comments about testing. He doesn’t seem to understand the difference between swab tests for the virus and blood tests for the virus’s antibodies. When he was going on about how Trump was to blame for the shortage of ventilators (that never materialized). Ventilators kill people and fill sickrooms with the expirated virus.
    Whatever nonsense they are pounding the table about at HuffPo and Slate bypasses any kind of analysis or logic check & goes right into his brain, and stays there.

  16. We won’t know the impact of any lockdown/quarantine relaxation until two weeks after the decision is implemented.

    That’s why it’s so important to go slowly and carefully.

  17. Lives, millions and millions of lives, are being ruined by the economic shutdown. That’s why we need to lift the lock down.
    I am not “quarantined,” I am locked down. Sick people are quarantined. Healthy people are locked down.
    If I was quarantined I could use my F’n sick time.

  18. You going to give yourself a blood test, POD?
    How are you going to give 350 million people blood tests & analyze the results?
    Step one of solving this thing: Avoid things that are ridiculous.
    By the time I get the results I could have contracted the disease.
    Giving healthy people a blood test is ridiculous.

  19. no I’m talking about once something new, less invasive and better is available, over 2 dozen companies are working on a test plus some universities I believe. The biggest problem with this damn virus is the amount of asymptomatic people there are, this is the next big challenge for us since we didn’t go the way of Europe

  20. the way to do it is test everyone in hot spots that pop up and I do believe that is possible in the coming weeks and months

  21. But you are still trying to protect the general population from the virus, POD. We are all going to be exposed to it sooner or later, and having the antibodies gives you an unknown amount of immunity for an unknown amount of time.

  22. What’s yours? Someone with as much cocksure criticism as you must have a good one.

  23. Emery has TDS. The Orange Man is the God of his universe. There can be no “plan” that does not take into account the goal of thinking about Trump, 24/7.

  24. My plan is simple, and it is the one which the states will eventually adapt, I believe.
    Protect at-risk populations. That would be people over 70.
    Care home workers should take special precautions. Everyone else wear your mask for a while, stop shaking hands, and use purell. If you come down with any of the symptoms call in sick and self-isolate. Remember: if you test negative you can still have the virus, and if you test positive, you may not have the virus.
    Then go out there & show the world how to beat this thing!

  25. What do we know for certain:
    We are destroying the world economy. That will lead to tens of millions of deaths, perhaps to hundreds of millions of deaths.
    Past models greatly overestimated the contagiousness & the deadliness of the virus.
    That’s it. That all that we know with certainty.

  26. Hawaii is going to get very, very bad.
    Tourism, especially conventions & group tours, have flat lined and will stay that way for a year or more. That will reduce state GDP by at least 25%. For a year, maybe longer. The government has always taxed the tourist industry heavily, so state revenues will drop by more than 25%. It won’t be able to provide any “stimulus” spending.
    Our governor is a buck-passer. If his public health people tell him to lock the state down for a year, he will do it & not relent until he is forced to resign. This doesn’t help the value of my home, but I wasn’t depending on that anyway.
    People need to consider the economic black hole that the lock down is steering us into. Economic depression is not pretty. Deflation is worse than inflation because value is disappearing. Corporate bankruptcies cascade. When big retailers fail, so does the commercial real estate market. The ecosystem of the shopping mall will vanish, along with its millions of jobs. Neiman-Marcus declared bankruptcy today, 14,000 lay offs. It won’t be paying its vendors for a long time, if they pay them at all. Many of those vendors will go bust. With people out of work, personal bankruptcies will skyrocket. The housing market will crash and burn, and all of the value that people had locked up in equity will vanish. Twenty year olds will be competing for the few jobs available with guys in their 50s and 60s. Addiction and suicide rates will increase. The birthrate will crash.
    The only thing that can stop it is to get people back to work.

  27. I see people saying China Lied

    And I see people saying Trump Lied

    But they’re different people.

    It’s as if it’s impossible to imagine that lying to people and putting them at risk could extend beyond your ideological foe.

  28. McMasters didn’t have any choice in re-opening the beaches, lakes and parks. People were not abiding the closures (everyone knows someone with private access) and SC does not have enough cops willing to trample on the Constitution.

    I did notice less traffic the first couple days of his unconstitutional order, but things quickly picked up and this weekend our mountain roads were filled with bikers enjoying the sun and wind. There were several roadside merchants selling food, drink and snacks. All the produce stands were open, too.

    I’m happy to see our Governor has the testicular fortitude to make decisions for himself, rather than gather together with other cowardly, empty sack governors to spread the blame. In case you hadn’t figured it out, that is what these “regional pacts” among degenerate governors are all about.

    SC will be back in business no later than May 1, if not sooner. Then we can start to quantify the damage that has been done by feckless leftist power mongers.

  29. Getting a comment through Berg’s moderation bot is starting to remind me of my old minnpost commenting days.

  30. Don’t mind Emery. He broke a shoelace this morning.

    Most people would attribute it to “wear and tear” or even “bad luck” but not Emery: he knows it was actually Trump.

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