Rural Minnesota is problematic

Minnesota was trying to carry out a COVID-19 testing survey — a smart move, because what we desperately need is more information, and doing good sampling and determining what the frequency of infection in the state is will help us design good, evidence-based policy. I say was, though, because the state just called it all off.

A door-to-door COVID-19 testing survey has been halted due to multiple incidents in outstate Minnesota of residents intimidating and shouting racial and ethnic slurs at state and federal public health survey teams.

The CDC pulled its federal surveyors out of Minnesota this week following reports of verbal abuse and intimidation, including an incident in the Iowa border town of Eitzen, Minn., in which a survey team walking to a house was blocked by two cars and threatened by three men, including one who had a gun.

Jesus christ but I despise that kind of ignorant yahoo. They were being offered free testing, and they react with guns and blockades, and then they’ll probably go off to a Trump rally and will vote Republican. We are so fucked by our fellow citizens.

In other news, Minnesota’s pandemic status has been downgraded to “uncontrolled”.

Minnesota has dropped into the “uncontrolled spread” category of the COVID-19 Exit Strategy website, joining neighbors Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas that had been at that lowest rating of pandemic progress for weeks due to rising novel coronavirus infections.

I wonder if these two stories are somehow related?


  1. kurt1 says

    Just give the Survey Teams police uniforms and a nice pair of boots to lick, that should solve the problem.

  2. blf says

    @1, Police uniforms would scare anyone who is guilty of being Black, Muslim, or has a “Vote Biden” sign.

  3. komarov says

    Those kinds of reaction may seem entirely reasonable, even patriotic, for someone who buys into even a fraction of the pandemic-related conspiracies. Which would make this a successful disinformation campagin rendering effective counter-action to the pandemic impossible. All that’s missing are some actual conspirators who had this end goal, and while some interest groups might have helped things along for various reasons (starting with clicks for cash), people are perfectly capable of sabotaging themselves without any actual conspiracy one way or another.

  4. raven says

    Well, that is definitely a horror story that fits in well with Halloween coming up soon.

    Strangely enough, sort of near me, there was also a survey done, but a local group, not the Feds. They had a PR notice campaign and went door to door offering free testing as part of a survey. Also, strangely, they didn’t have much in the way of problems like reported in Minnesota.

    Not sure what the difference is here, but they limited themselves to urban/suburban neighborhoods.
    I suspect that if the surveyors in Minnesota had limited themselves to larger urban areas, this wouldn’t have happened.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Rural Minnesota America is problematic


    The CDC pulled its federal surveyors out of Minnesota this week following reports of verbal abuse and intimidation, including an incident in the Iowa border town of Eitzen, Minn., in which a survey team walking to a house was blocked by two cars and threatened by three men, including one who had a gun.

    Goll-durn revenuers and con-sarned contact tracers! Today they done take yer temperature, tomorrah they’ll take yer FREEDOM!!!!

  6. aspleen says

    According to Minnesota Public Radio, the incidents happened in south-central and southeast Minnesota:

    COVID-19 fact-finding leads to threats against health workers in Minnesota

    The CASPER project started in the state on Sept. 14 and was supposed to go through the end of the month. The project was stopped on Wednesday after these incidents, which happened in southeastern and south-central Minnesota.

    Public health teams were going to visit about 1,200 randomly selected households in 180 sites around the state. Teams had only gotten to around 400 sites when the project was stopped.

    The visits had started in the Twin Cities metro area, then southeastern, south-central and southwestern Minnesota. Teams had just started in the northeast region of the state.

  7. raven says

    It looks like a lot of rural areas are just writing themselves off in terms of declining standards of living and social well being.
    It’s been happening for years and they just don’t care so why should anyone else?

    A lot of rural areas have become dysfunctional sinks for poverty, crime, drug use, alcohol abuse, child abuse, and any other social problems you can think of.
    The result shows up in declining average lifespans as rural people are dying younger and younger. Two of these demographics are rural older white females and middle aged white males.

  8. raven says

    About once a year, I drive up north to where I used to live.
    And always drive through a farming town nearby.
    It was once a thriving small town.

    One by one, all the businesses have closed down and the schools as well. The last business is still there, the cafe. It closed a decade or so ago, and is boarded up. There are two churches. One is an abandoned tear down and the other is for sale. About all that is left is a few houses and a nearby cemetery.

  9. Reginald Selkirk says

    “We found that our white teams had a very different experience, a much more positive experience, but I think from our perspective it’s ridiculous for us to contemplate that,” he said. “We choose who is doing this survey on their professional qualifications.”

    “Minnesota nice”

  10. says

    Everyday sensible people are far too nice.They really need to fight back using the same tactics as Trump’s goon squad. The next time some moron threatens a federal official with a gun just shoot them.

  11. whheydt says

    Soon enough Minnesota will be out of the news. The governor of Florida has announced reopening of restaurants and bars at 100% occupancy, and barred localities from assessing fines for failure to wear a mask.

    I wonder how many Republican voters this is going to kill within the next month?

  12. PaulBC says

    The US is ungovernable. Well, actually things seem fine where I live, but I am starting to wonder if it’s just the large immigrant population who are accustomed to having some form of social contract and don’t equate it with tyranny.

  13. epawtows says

    #6: For those of us who don’t know the territory, how rural are south-central and southeast Minnesota?

  14. brucegee1962 says

    If I really was an eeeeevil liberal conspirator, the most effective evil plot I’d be able to come up with would be to announce easy and cheap ways to avoid a deadly virus, but vaguely insinuate that following those procedures was something only a lib would do.
    Of course, the true downside is all the health-care and service industry people getting infected through no fault of their own. But really, it’s as if these people want to tip the voting balance in our favor by getting themselves infected and dying off.

  15. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Paul BC: The US is ungovernable.

    Bolivar reached the same conclusion, but about both American Continents:
    “America is ungovernable. He who tries plows the seas.”

  16. vikingcnp says

    Southeastern Minnesota is just as backward as rural Alabama. The southern strip of the state could be called Northern Iowa or East Dakota. Just as conservative and backward as Alabama or Arkansas.

    It doesn’t matter if the are within 75 miles of Rochester or Mankato. They view themselves as rural and Morally superior to the more densely populated areas of the state.