The irony with Governor Walz’s ‘targeted’ lockdown measures

For some time now, businesses have been worrying about the possibility of another shutdown. And it appears their fears might come true. As reported by the Star Tribune,

Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday will unveil “surgical” COVID-19 restrictions that target spreaders of the fast-growing infectious disease, as well as plans for mobile device tracking to alert people when they have been exposed to the virus.

Walz on Monday said he wanted to avoid a “blunt” action like the 51-day state lockdown this spring and hinted at early bar and restaurant closures based on where and when customers appear to be spreading the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

It makes sense to us now to target those much more surgically, much more aggressively, than a statewide stay-at-home order,” Walz said, “because at this point in time, we’ve learned we can do retail, we can do education, some of it in person, if we’re able to test, contain and contact trace those folks to get [their infections] isolated.

While Walz has not specified his plans yet, he mentioned that they “will concentrate on places where adults aged 18 to 35 gather and spread the virus”. This essentially translates to more restrictions on bars and restaurants, and also other high-risk situations.

This is an attack on the hospitality industry

I have written before that,

It should be common sense by now that restricting businesses and keeping healthy people locked down is not the best way to mitigate risk from the coronavirus. Yet so many governments, including Minnesota, continue to prescribe cures that are worse than the disease. For instance, despite the fact that deaths in Minnesota have been concentrated among the elderly and residents of long term care facilities, lockdown measures continue to be strict. Our state continues to place restrictions on businesses like restaurants and bars which concurrently were hardest hit by the shutdown.

Economically speaking it is a no-brainer that hospitality has been one of the biggest losers of the shutdown. The hospitality industry has been bombarded by a longer shutdown, then the crime situation, and just currently by the capacity limits. Restaurants and bars are already preparing for a harsh winter, more restrictions on them will drive just much more out of business.

Older populations should be the targeted populations

And when we look at the current Covid-19 data, the trend is the same. Older people and residents of nursing homes, while they make a few cases make up a majority of Covid-19. Take a look at the November 6 Covid-19 update, for example, 23 out of the 36 deaths occurred in nursing homes.

Source: Minnesota Department of Health

Source: Minnesota Department of Health

So, given all that we know, and what the data shows, would it not make more sense to focus efforts on protecting the most vulnerable without jeopardizing the lives of many more healthy individuals?