Minnesota’s Border Battles: COVID-19 edition
Last year, I wrote a report titled ‘Minnesota’s Border Battles‘ in which I compared the economic outcomes in Minnesota counties bordering other states with the outcomes in the border counties…
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:
Not sure what's happening with our neighbors to the East, but I am quite certain we will see a huge increase in COVID related deaths thanks to their terrible courts. BTW – @thestevesack is the best political cartoonist in America hands down. @DemStateParties @TheDemocrats pic.twitter.com/rP3Hu2GJLO
— Ken Martin (@kenmartin73) May 15, 2020
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.