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A COVID Border Battle


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Have shutdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus done any good? I doubt it. My guess is that in future years–once President Trump is safely out of office–a consensus will emerge that the shutdowns that U.S. governors have imposed, like the governments of a number of European countries, were a disastrous policy error. I think history will conclude that the shutdowns turned a relatively mild epidemic into a relatively mild epidemic plus a catastrophic economic setback, with adverse health consequences that approached, and may even have exceeded, those of the virus.

In the ongoing debate over whether shutdowns have been useful, a comparison of Minnesota and Wisconsin is a valuable data point. These two adjoining states are of comparable population, demographics, history and geography. A Wisconsinite is basically a Minnesotan without the smugness.


What happened when Wisconsin’s courts lifted that state’s shutdown order? My colleague John Phelan has the story. Liberals associated with Minnesota’s Walz administration predicted a dire body count. Ken Martin is the Chairman of Minnesota’s DFL party, and Steve Sack is the editorial cartoonist for the DFL’s flagship newspaper, the Star Tribune:


Do cartoonists ever issue retractions or apologies? I suppose not. But Martin and Sack couldn’t have been more wrong. John Phelan picks up the story:


Figures from the Minnesota Department of Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services show that, from May 14th to July 27th, Wisconsin suffered 472 Covid-19 deaths and Minnesota suffered 939, as seen on Figure 1. Again, given the two state’s broadly similar populations – 5.6 million in Minnesota and 5.8 million in Wisconsin – that means a much higher rate of Covid-19 deaths in our state as well as a much higher number. Indeed, between May 14th and July 27th, Wisconsin saw 81 Covid-19 deaths per million residents. In Minnesota, we saw 167 Covid-19 deaths per million residents – a rate 2.1 times higher.



Darn Cheeseheads! :angry:



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Mayor Jacob Frey orders closure of all indoor bar areas in Minneapolis

Table seating, including high-tops, will be allowed under the order so long as customers continue to follow existing state guidelines. That means businesses don’t have to shut their doors entirely.

Anthony Gockowski

July 29, 2020


“Across the country we’ve seen data clearly show that a night out at the bar is leading to nights in the hospital for family, friends, and neighbors,” Frey said in a statement.

“By focusing on bar areas, which are proven to be hot beds for congregation and community spread, we can help keep Minneapolis trends stable. That commitment to public health gives us the best shot at both protecting frontline workers – a disproportionate share of whom are people of color – and keeping our businesses open,” he continued.



I Need A Drink!

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