Minnesota, we have a problem revisited
I was very pleased to see that my recent Star Tribune op — Minnesota, we have a problem — generated not one but two day’s worth of replies. Sadly, many…
I have recently written about how there is no evidence supporting the current restrictions on businesses. Despite this, reports suggest Governor Walz might extend these restrictions. According to the Pioneer Press,
While there is good evidence the speed of Minnesota’s coronavirus outbreak is slowing, Walz and health officials are waiting to see if those trends hold before making any changes to the state’s coronavirus response.
“I am as sick of this — COVID-19 — as anybody in the state,” Walz said. “But we cannot give up. I cannot do the easy thing. I have to do the thing that makes a difference.”
Walz emphasized that he believed the restrictions were working to prevent infections and save lives, even though cases are also dropping in surrounding states with fewer or no restrictions.
“The idea that if we didn’t do anything we would end up in the same spot anyway is simply not proven out around the world,” he said.
Luckily there is enough evidence to evaluate if locking down businesses is the way to control the virus.
One study that compares the U.S States based on stringency of lockdowns and their end result is that of Adam McCann. The study essentially assesses levels of stringency in state restrictions and ranks them. Then these ranks are plotted against both Covid-19 death rates and unemployment rate. The study finds no clear relationship between the level of restrictions and death rates. For instance, Minnesota is one of the states with a high level of restrictions but also a high death rate. However, there is a clear relationship between the stringency of restrictions and the unemployment rate.
More evidence summarized by an AIER article also show the same point. Evidence by various researchers from different regions of the world has evidence suggest other factors not associated with political response are associated with the spread of the virus. All evidence from 24 papers summarised in this article suggests one thing: the lockdowns have not worked as intended.
So, if Governor Walz extends current restrictions after the holidays, he will only be doing so for the sake of appearing to do something