Why isn’t Tim Walz protecting us from COVID-19?

A popular narrative around the state Capitol is that Gov. Tim Walz is politically vulnerable on the crime issue because of his weak response to the riots last year, but he gets high marks from Minnesotans for handling the pandemic. But are those high marks deserved?

When the pandemic first hit in March of 2020, Minnesotans were scared to death and open to strong leadership. Following Rahm Emanuel’s infamous advice, Walz was determined not to let this good crisis go to waste. His version of strong leadership shut the state down under a series of executive orders using emergency powers.

He shut down the schools.

He shut down businesses.

He told everyone to stay home.

He bought a morgue after his computer models warned that 74,000 Minnesotans could die from COVID.

He put in place a statewide mask mandate.

He held daily press conferences that the local TV stations covered breathlessly.

In times of crisis, people reward strong leadership and they rewarded Walz with high poll numbers – 82% approved of his handling of the pandemic in May 2020. His Facebook account ballooned from 30,000 followers to over 100,000 overnight.

Walz asked Minnesotans to stay home for a few weeks to flatten the curve of cases. Then he promised things would get better once we had adequate testing, frequently criticizing President Donald Trump for his failure in this area. When a second wave of cases hit Minnesota last November, Walz promised things would get better when the vaccines arrived. Today, Minnesota is number 17 in the nation for vaccination rates.

And yet cases are skyrocketing again, hospitals are at full capacity and we’re averaging 18 deaths per day, the highest rate we’ve experienced since January. Worse yet, 111 of the deaths reported last week were among the vaccinated.

Exactly what is Walz doing to protect Minnesotans from COVID-19?

Last week, he staged yet another press event with the release of vaccines for children aged 5-11. NOW we can conquer the virus, he promised again, as long as all the children get vaccinated.

He used the press conference to warn parents not to listen to their uncle on Facebook when it comes to kids and COVID:

Your uncle on Facebook is not the facts on some of this. So please parents, please use the broad array of knowledge that’s coming out and work beyond that. We hear the statistics that very few children get sick — first and foremost I dismiss that. You heard it. We have 300 kids in the hospital that are really sick. We’ve lost children here. One is too many when we have a vaccine. 

It turns out that Tim Walz once again is the uncle on Facebook continuing to spout falsehoods and scare people. There are not “300 kids in the hospital” with COVID-19. He completely misrepresented what his Health Commissioner just said about childhood hospitalizations. In other words, he lied.

The truth is, none of Tim Walz’s strategies have prevented the spread of COVID-19 or the resulting hospitalizations and deaths. In the meantime, our kids lost a year of education, thousands of businesses were shut down for good, mental health problems skyrocketed, and freedoms were taken away.

Minnesotans under Walz continue to suffer from the one-two punch of a continuing pandemic amid a wave of violent crime.