COVID-19 emergency has long been over

According to a news report by the Star Tribune, Gov. Walz is expected to extend his emergency powers next Monday. In fact, his spokesperson had the following to say about a bill that would end Walz’s emergency powers:

Governor Walz is committed to working with the Legislature and finding bipartisan solutions to improve the state’s response to emergencies. Unfortunately, the proposal put forward by Minnesota Republicans is not a serious plan — it would slow down vaccination, jeopardize hundreds of millions of dollars in hunger relief, and end the eviction moratorium overnight with no plan to provide an off ramp for renters or landlords as we come out of the pandemic. The governor will continue to work across the aisle to find serious solutions to keep Minnesotans safe going forward. In the meantime, he remains focused on our emergency vaccination program and getting Minnesotans back to business as usual

But does Walz really need to keep his emergency powers? Data suggests the emergency phase of this pandemic has long been over.

According to data from the Minnesota Department of Health, Minnesota today recorded its lowest case count ever since March 2020. Other important metrics like hospitalizations and positivity rates have also been down.

In fact, Minnesota’s hospitalizations and positivity rates are the lowest yet since the pandemic. As of June 7th, Minnesota had a total of 201 hospitalizations (57 in ICU, and 144 in non-ICU). This is almost 90 percent down from November’s peak when Minnesota saw total hospitalizations per day go over 1800.

Hospitalizations that slightly peaked in April have been well under 500 since the beginning of May as can be seen from the seven-day moving average for hospitalizations. New ICU hospitalizations have also trended down since at least Mid-April and are in the single digits.

Considering that Minnesota’s vaccination rate is high and climbing, outcomes are likely going to get better. But regardless of vaccination rates, the pandemic does not present a huge risk to most, something we have known for quite a while. If the COVID-19 pandemic was really ever an emergency, that time has long passed. Walz does not need to keep his emergency powers.