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Since Wisconsin reopened, it has had 50% fewer Covid-19 deaths per capita than Minnesota

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the reaction in Minnesota when Wisconsin’s Supreme Court struck down Gov. Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” order on May 13th. Ken Martin, Chair of the Minnesota DFL, tweeted:

This hysterical prediction turned out to be totally bogus. As I wrote in June:

Since May 13th, Wisconsin has suffered 240 Covid-19 deaths; Minnesota has had 579 – 2.4 times as many. Given the 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 the Gopher State as well as a much higher number…since May 13th, Wisconsin has seen 41 Covid-19 deaths per million residents; for Minnesota, the figure is 103 deaths per million residents – a rate 2.5 times higher.

Where do we stand with a further six weeks of data?

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.

Figure 1: Cumulative Covid-19 deaths, May 14th to July 27th

Source: Minnesota Department of Health and Wisconsin Department of Health Services

The huge increase in Covid-19 deaths that Mr. Martin predicted due to Wisconsin’s “terrible courts” haven’t materialized. In fact, Minnesota has performed far worse. To what does Mr. Martin attribute our state’s woeful performance?

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment. 

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