End the Covid-19 Minnesota Shutdown NOW -- and SAVE LIVES!
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When Gov. Tim Walz took the unprecedented action on March 13, 2020 of responding to the Covid-19 contagion with a prolonged shutdown order, with only 1 ICU bed in use by a Covid-19 in the entire state at the time, he put in motion profound impacts that will have dangerous repercussions to be felt for generations to come. Using unproven models and the tactics of fear as justification, his actions led to hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans into unemployment within two weeks. This crash of employment and livelihoods will result in tens of thousands of families being evicted from their homes, and a loss of social order which will raise crime rates significantly and lead to deaths in their own right. Furthermore, the risk for even greater consequences from a destroyed economy, including wars, famine, and extreme poverty, will increase dramatically, leading to a far greater crisis than anything currently posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is not a debate of lives vs money -- it is a debate of lives vs lives.
According to the CDC, the flu causes upwards of 45 million infections, 800,000 hospitalizations, and 60,000 deaths every year in the US. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/images/about/burden/Influenza-Chart-Infographic-high-res.jpg
On the other hand, according to the current mortality statistics for Covid-19, the number of daily cases and deaths are declining, and on its current projection it will barely surpass 100k deaths total in the US in 2020. Hospitals were not overrun, in many cases the field hospitals set up were later closed without even seeing a single patient. Meanwhile in Minnesota, we are tracking far better than the national average. Source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/
After 3 weeks of shutdown, it's clear that the hospital system hasn't come close to scratching 10% capacity, with at most 64 ICU beds in use in MN (update: after more than 2 months, the max usage has been 233 or 33% of pre-covid19 capacity) --
Social distancing measures' initial stated purpose was to "reduce the burden" on the healthcare system, just for a couple weeks, in order for hospitals to prepare for the surge in demand. That demand never came, and in reality, the biggest impact has been to the working hours of emergency staff, as reports show the emergency care system among the most impacted by layoffs due to lack of demand and cases. Source: https://www.insidesources.com/unexpected-consequence-of-covid-19-crisis-empty-emergency-rooms/
Social distancing was to SLOW the spread of the virus ("flatten the curve"), NOT to eliminate its spread entirely, which was always inevitable. By now, most nearly all of us will have already been exposed to the Covid-19 virus in some form, due to the essential contact with each other we still have been exchanging over many incubation cycles. If you think you will not be exposed to the virus, you are mistaken. Any benefit to be gained from social distancing will already have been exhausted due to the number of incubation cycles already passed since the initial case (January). On the positive side, most all who get exposed to the virus but do not ultimately contract Covid-19 will develop immunity -- through this, there is significant chance our "herd immunity" level is already very high.
One common misconception is the impact of "essential" vs "non-essential" workers. "Essential" is defined from the perspective of an individual. From a society view, however, the "non-essential" portion of our economy makes up a very essential SIZE -- EVERYTHING in our economy is weaved together like a quilt. If you remove a strand from the quilt, it still remains in tact. But the sum of the "non-essential" pieces of the economy would easily equal at least 40% of all GDP (if not as high as 60%) -- if you pulled all that out completely, what remains will not be able to sustain the entire system, which will lead to the entire "quilt" tearing apart at the seams. From there, a "death spiral" ensues that leads to a loss of all services, essential and non-essential alike, which in turn leads to all the aforementioned calamities -- which most alive today have not lived through or experienced.
The measures to contain Covid-19 have been both very strong and authoritarian, to unclear benefit, as in the end these measures do not guarantee anyone's protection from the virus. Benjamin Franklin stated correctly that a society which trades its freedoms away for a modicum of security will receive neither, and unfortunately that is the precipice we are now crossing. Unlike any impact from the virus, the cost of the governor's actions has been swift, with over 10 million Americans newly jobless. Source: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/02/825383525/6-6-million-file-for-unemployment-another-dismal-record
With this prolonged shutdown action, we may buy a few years of life for some individuals right now, but we do so at the expense of robbing the livelihoods of nearly all in the future, and the untold number of lives that will cost as a result. It is clear from history that wars and famine will cause much more death and destruction than any virus, and this is reinforced by the 6 months of Covid-19 data we have globally, comparing all impacts.
People need to stop living in fear, and courageously get back to business and way of life, for all our sakes, SOON. With proper hygiene protocol, the symptomatic and vulnerable remaining home, and herd immunity, the impact upon return to normal life will be minimal. The first step for this is for Gov. Walz to end the shutdown NOW.
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