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Horowitz: Minnesota has more COVID-19 deaths than non-lockdown neighbors, more unemployment than New York

Conservative Review

Imagine taking a non-hot spot for coronavirus, locking down the people, achieving a worse outcome than surrounding states that didn’t lock down, and then suffering worse unemployment from the lockdown than New York. Welcome to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s lockdown magic.

Minnesota is surrounded on three sides by some of the few states in the country that did not formally issue a shelter-in-place order at any time during this crisis. According to the dictates of the lockdown crowd, these states should have been smoldering ash, given their reluctance to do what the “experts” tell us is the best and only way to prevent mass deaths from the virus. Well, it turns out the states that didn’t lock down had low fatality rates, some of them especially low.

Here are the deaths per million people as of yesterday, according to Worldometer:

Wyoming: 12

Utah: 13

South Dakota: 13

Arkansas: 17

North Dakota: 25

Nebraska: 29

Iowa: 43

Most of these seven states are at or near the bottom in terms of death rates per million people.

Minnesota is surrounded by Iowa to its south and the Dakotas to the west. Unlike Iowa and the Dakotas, Minnesota went full lockdown, ordered by Tim Walz. In the end, the fatality rate per million people of 54 was still relatively low compared to most states in the northeast, but higher than the surrounding states that did not issue lockdown orders. This demonstrates that given the demographics and geography of the upper Midwest states, there was no reason whatsoever for Walz not to follow in the footsteps of his neighbors.

In fact, Walz joined the media’s pile-on against the other governors in the region.

“I do worry about that,” Walz said on April 8, according to Twincities.com, adding that he had communicated with officials in Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota. “It’s probably only a matter of time before they issue those, too.”

Well, look who has egg on his face now.

Walz is a big proponent of lockdown. “I think most of these retailers and businesses understand they’re going to have to change the way business is being done for about the next 18 months,” said Walz last week.

Despite just 300 statewide deaths, Minneapolis is actually tightening, not loosening restrictions. According to the Star-Tribune, the state is now "removing or blocking basketball rims, removing tennis and volleyball nets, and posting signs notifying park visitors that soccer fields, playgrounds and skate parks are closed."

Sure, shutting down outdoor activities for predominantly young people makes a lot of sense when studies show nearly no transmissions outdoors and when not a single person under 40 years of age and very few under 65 died in Minnesota.

In general, researchers have found absolutely no correlation between early and severe lockdown states and low COVID-19 death numbers. Florida has achieved one of the best results of any large state despite its elderly population. Governor Ron DeSantis was raked over the coals for being late to implement a very weak shelter-in-place order under pressure. Yesterday, he struck back at his opponents:

Minnesota’s governor should listen and learn.

If Minnesota didn’t accomplish anything in terms of saving more lives, what did it accomplish? A worse unemployment rate than even New York. In recent weeks, 16 percent of Minnesota’s workforce filed unemployment claims, placing the state squarely in the top half of state workforces hit by the shutdown. That is just ahead of New York’s 14.6 percent. Remember that Minnesota had just over 300 deaths. Such disruption is much less justifiable than New York’s shutdown.

South Dakota, on the other hand, saw just 6 percent of its workforce file for unemployment, the lowest in the nation. Governor Kristi Noem came under tremendous pressure to issue a shelter-in-place order. Now she has been proven right and Governor Walz proven wrong.

Not only will more people die from the lockdown and unemployment, but thanks to the severe lockdown and the ensuing panic that it has driven, the Mayo Clinic, one of the most important employers in the state, was forced to furlough 40 percent of its workforce. Aside from the state and federal government, hospital systems are the top employers in the state. The fact that they have taken a greater hit than anyone else demonstrates the perfidious circular logic of shutting down elective procedures in order to stop a supposed overrun of hospitals in a state with 300 COVID-19 deaths.

What is particularly jarring about Minnesota is that three-quarters of the fatalities were in long-term care homes. That is 77 percent of 300 deaths. Thus, rather than focusing 100 percent of his resources on securing nursing homes, he cast a wide net on constitutional rights and accomplished nothing other than destroying his state’s economy.

Good job, Gov. Walz. You and your advisers will still collect your paychecks for creating a “cure” worse than the illness.

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