Now can we get back to doing something about the pandemic?

One distraction, as important as it may have been, is over, so now can we take the pandemic seriously? Please?

New cases are soaring here in Minnesota, and our state government seems reluctant to act.

COVID-19 is sweeping across Minnesota at an unprecedented pace, breaking records for new cases and daily deaths and raising concerns over the ability of hospitals to keep up.

The Star Tribune reports Saturday’s tally of 4,647 new cases — a figure that would have easily set a record during the first eight months of the pandemic — wasn’t even close to the biggest single-day count of the past week. For the seven-day period ending Saturday, Minnesota reported more than 25,000 new COVID-19 cases, or more than 10% of the state’s cases since March.

The Minnesota Department of Health reported another 34 deaths on Saturday, bringing the week’s total to 168, the second highest one-week count since the start of the pandemic. Hospitals, meanwhile, are scrambling to treat more COVID-19 patients even as the virus threatens to sideline more health care workers.

We really need to clamp down: shelter in place, mandatory masking, active test and trace. We are getting free testing today and tomorrow here in Morris, but there doesn’t seem to be much urgency, and people are still fairly casual. I’m on my last week of in-person labs, and then I’m locking myself down and staying home and doing everything over the internet.

I’m not shy about saying this: I’m afraid. The question is, why aren’t you?


  1. xohjoh2n says

    Sounds like a Democrat plot to steal the next election by being alive enough to vote to me…

  2. says

    Way back in February I mentioned “coronavirus” at our Tuesday morning meeting and most of my coworkers had no idea what I was talking about. I was already taking it seriously. The rest of Oregon took it seriously too. That’s why we only have about 700 fatalities. We go into second lockdown on Wednesday BTW. This “poorly run Democrat state” is kicking so much red state ass that they are shipping COVID patients from Idaho to Portland for treatment. It’s not even that hard. Listen to the experts and wear a mask. Practice social distancing. Avoid crowds. Just do it and we’ll get through it.

  3. raven says

    This “poorly run Democrat state” is kicking so much red state ass that they are shipping COVID patients from Idaho to Portland for treatment.

    Idaho is returning the favor by sending Covid-19 virus infected people to Oregon.

    Malheur County’s coronavirus challenge: Being on the border as Oregon, Idaho respond differently to pandemic
    Updated Sep 03, 2020; Posted Sep 03, 2020

    Malheur county is on the southeast border with Idaho, near a lot of southern Idaho population centers. There is a lot of traffic between Malheur county and Idaho.
    Idaho hasn’t done much to contain the Covid-19 virus.
    So Malheur county, otherwise in the middle of nowhere, now is a hot spot for Covid-19 cases, thanks to Idaho.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    At Columbia, they are working on a nasal spray hoped to stop COVID19. So far, it has only been tested on minks.
    BTW Canada has a lot of similarities with USA and -as others have mentioned- they have half the death toll per 100 000 inhabitants as USA (thank you, Republicans).
    Sweden has a relatively high death toll mainly due to the late onset of restrictions (and a lot of other issues, whose respective contributions will take years for researchers to untangle).
    Now as the virus is back in force, politicians and health care authorities are busy enforcing distancing, relying on the experiences and lessons of spring.
    Much of it is about psychology; people are weary of the situation.
    Young people ca 20-30 years old are socially quite active while being more likely to have asymptomatic COVID19.
    Reminding people of the necessity for distancing has to be done over and over again. Symbolically this is demonstrated by loops played on the PA systems of large shops and libraries every few minutes, reminding people of the rules.

  5. bionichips says

    I’m not sure I see the problem being solved until we have an effective vaccine. Sadly for almost one half the country the culture is “what’s the big deal?” and they will take the rest of us down with them.

    And even when the vaccine comes, a significant portion of the population believes Bill Gates is installing a chip or the government wants to track your DNA.

    And let us not forget we are now global – what happens in 3rd world countries no longer stays there. And getting a vaccine there is a nightmare job.

    I foresee this nightmare continuing for at least a year and a half.

    IMHO (and also high level Rs) if trump had shown minimal leadership instead of worrying about the stock market and downplaying the virus he would have won in the same way as 2016 lost the popular vote but won the electoral collage by a few votes in a few swing states.

  6. azpaul3 says

    One distraction, as important as it may have been, is over, so now can we take the pandemic seriously? Please?


    Not until Jan 20. Noon to be precise. The Lamebrained Cheeto Duck is still president.

    If the republic survives the wrath and retribution of the Orange Adolescent then on Jan 20 we can begin to heal. Unfortunately many more will needlessly die by then.

    Now I understand why so many 3rd world Pols end up getting their butts hanged when they are finally forced out of office.

  7. Jazzlet says

    PZ I’m not in the USA, I’m in the UK, but I am scared. I’m sixty, I have some of the dangerous risk factors, and so does Mr J, including in his case having only half the usual number of kidneys. Nearly all of my generation of my family are older, many with one or more of the concernng risk factors. One of my neices has had COVID-19 and is still suffering sequelae months later. And our Government may be a litttle better than yours, but not by much. We do have the NHS, but it has been underfunded for the ten years of Tory rule and is in serious danger of at least local collapse. The NHS certainly isn’t able to treat a higher number of COVID-19 patients and mantain regular services, so arguably in places it has already collapsed. Test and trace has been seriously mismanaged by the private companies contracted to run it, but despite this they have had their contracts renewed. It’s a total fuck up.

  8. raven says

    It’s a total fuck up.

    Thanks to American Exceptionalism and because we are always number 1, we are still doing worse.

    In my local area, after 6 months, testing is finally going from dismal to almost barely adequate.
    For many reasons, contact tracing has completely failed.
    More people won’t talk to contact tracers than will.
    And the virus is so diffuse and prevalent, that a huge number of people have zero idea where they got the virus.

    It is showing up in things like your neighborhood refrigerated truck. To hold all the dead bodies that have overwhelmed the processing procedures. I’ve noticed that they’ve stopped calling them meat wagons and they are now, “mobile morgues”.

  9. evolutionaryautistic says

    My mother is a nurse practitioner. I know there is a surge in my state, because she sees many of those cases in person. Mom has had to stay overnight at the hospital sometimes, because she is too busy to come home. When she does come home, she is exhausted. Because of her work, she is at high risk for getting sick. Whenever people say that this virus isn’t that bad, well, I wish they could take Mom’s place for a day so they could see exactly how serious it is. Believe me, I am afraid.

  10. raven says

    This is what diffuse spread of a virus looks like.


    How Are Americans Catching the Virus? Increasingly, ‘They Have No Idea’
    New outbreaks used to be traced back to crowded factories and rowdy bars. But now, the virus is so widespread not even health officials are able to keep up.

    As the coronavirus soars across the country, charting a single-day record of 99,155 new cases on Friday and surpassing nine million cases nationwide, tracing the path of the pandemic in the United States is no longer simply challenging. It has become nearly impossible.
    “It’s just kind of everywhere,” said Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health,

    In some places, they’ve given up contact tracing for most cases.
    And they are already starting to cancel outdoor events for summer of 2021

  11. says

    I’m not shy about saying this: I’m afraid. The question is, why aren’t you?

    I’ve never felt happier living somewhere that state governments have been adequately competent in controlling the dreaded death bug. Most of the active cases in Australia are from repatriation flights going straight to quarantine. The rest of the world is so fucked that every flight carries a few new cases.

  12. unclefrogy says

    yes I am afraid of this invisible monster just outside my door and have been since I first heard about back in february.
    I do what I can and so far so good but there is still probably an equal amount of time ahead of us before we are out of the woods at least for a while.
    uncle frogy

  13. consciousness razor says

    Now can we get back to doing something about the pandemic?

    What do you mean, “get back”? We’ve barely done anything from the start, which is why it’s such a clusterfuck now.

    We really need to clamp down: shelter in place, mandatory masking, active test and trace. We are getting free testing today and tomorrow here in Morris, but there doesn’t seem to be much urgency, and people are still fairly casual.

    A free test doesn’t help people who need some actual medical treatment and can’t afford it. A test to inform them of what they need and can’t afford is no good. So, let’s start with free treatment for this single illness…. something like Medicare, but for all and not only baby boomers, which of course wouldn’t cover the vast majority of healthcare that people need. So that would be far too much of a comprise, although it would be “something.” Yet that’s still too much to ask for the so-called “moderates” among us.

    Oh, and cancel evictions, as well as other debts like student loans and so forth. Checks every month for people to stay at home, until it’s safe enough to have a jobs guarantee which will provide them with income for actual some useful work that benefits the society. Because we’ve got tons of unemployed or underemployed people, coupled with a “healthcare system” (if you can call it that) which is actually just a capitalist enterprise based on employer-provided insurance and for-profit hospitals and drug companies.

    That would be taking it fairly seriously. But in the situation we’re facing now, just telling people to wear masks and such is a cruel fucking joke. That could’ve bought us a little extra time in March or April, if almost everyone had done it, but that’s definitely not where we are now. If you want fewer people dying from the disease, fewer living in poverty, less crime, less civil unrest, less drug abuse, lower suicide rates, etc., then we really don’t have the luxury of taking a few baby steps in the right direction.

  14. consciousness razor says

    edit: “far too much of a compromise” and “with income for actual useful work that benefits the society”

  15. marner says

    I am moderately concerned, but cannot go so far as to say I am afraid. There are roughly 550,000 people in my area in my age bracket, (40-59). In that age bracket, 3 people have died and there have been 159 hospitalizations since about the middle of August. I always wear a mask and mostly social distance. Of course, I appreciate the irony if I get it and die or have complications, but I am much more worried about my family’s history of cancer.

  16. wzrd1 says

    Eli Lilly just got an EUA for their monoclonal antibody treatment bamlanivimab. For mild to moderate COVID19 cases. It wasn’t shown effective in hospitalized patients in more severe cases, which largely appear to be more ill due to cytokine storms.
    So, we’re seeing a little bit of light at the end of the tunnel that is not associated with an oncoming train.
    Now, all we need is competent leadership.

    I’ve long abandoned shopping in favor of using a more expensive instacart service, as that massively lowers my exposure factor. I’m also holding off on some diagnostic testing until the pandemic is under control. Hopefully, my AAA will remain patient… :/

  17. ANB says


    I agree. Sadly. If Trump had done the right thing, he’d have gotten reelected (because: lies, stupidity, misinformation, etc.). Sorry so many people (not just the deceased) had to pay the price for that, but it’s good that we have this result (of a Biden Presidency)–soon….

  18. says

    Jazzlet is right about the situation in the UK.Our mini-Trump is cheerfully turning the UK into the warning example for the rest of Europe and the corrupt award of contracts is throwing away billions of public money that could have been spent on making lies better.

  19. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I’m terrified. Croatia is doing precisely nothing.
    We have some worthless half-measures that have more or less ruined the restaurants and bars, without compensation, but at the same time none of the patrons get tickets for breaking the same measures! They only thing helping is that some people are genuinely scared and some are just subservient enough to wear masks as advised, but nobody gets tickets or a fine for not wearing a mask.
    Public gatherings are restricted to 50 people max, but somehow, the police approved a protest against measures this weekend in Zagreb. And they have literally made an exemption for gatherings for national holidays! So that the war rememberance event can be held next week.
    We’re in deep shit.

  20. John Morales says

    Meanwhile, in Australia, where there was an outbreak in a state with a larger population than Minnesota:

    Victoria has recorded no new coronavirus cases or deaths for the eleventh straight day, the state’s health department says.

    Yes, there was a lockdown. Yes, there were demonstrations.

    But, somehow, it worked.


    Premier Daniel Andrews has announced kindergarten will be free in 2021, saving families up to $2,000 in fees for each child enrolled in an appropriate program.

    The scheme will cost the Government almost $170 million and is designed to help parents return to the workforce.

    “This investment is dedicated to making the daily juggle of work, school and kinder just that little bit easier,” Mr Andrews said.

  21. KG says

    the corrupt award of contracts is throwing away billions of public money that could have been spent on making lies better. – bob dowling@20

    Yes, even their lies are useless, falling apart as soon as anyone tries to use them!

  22. birgerjohansson says

    My home county, Västerbotten and the adjacent Norrbotten have new rules: do not travel outside these regions unless it is related to health care or work.
    Plus stricter rules for how many people that can be in one room.
    In two months the incidence has increased 60-fold (from a very low level)- no one in our intensive care unit yet, but it is just a matter of time.