We’re #7!

Climbing up in the polls, Minnesota takes the 7th position in number of COVID-19 hospitalizations. Why? Because nobody here is taking it seriously. No masks, no vaccine requirements, public schools are wide open, who cares if Grandma dies.

I talked with my son the Army Major this afternoon, and the military takes it seriously, that’s for sure. They require vaccinations. He has just been shipped off to participate in planning a Southeast Asian military exercise, and they make sure the Army isn’t infecting the world. First thing, they park him in quarantine quarters in Bangkok: no visits, can’t leave the room, can’t fraternize with his fellow soldiers, nothing. It’s like prison for a week before they let him out to make restricted, official duty tours to check on the status of the exercise, then he comes back to Bangkok for organizational meetings and to get thoroughly tested before flying him back. It’s no fun, but I’m impressed. That’s what it takes.

Meanwhile, the University of Minnesota just casually opened its doors to all the students, let them come flooding back in, with very few restrictions other than requiring masks in campus buildings. I am not impressed. The state’s response to the growing pre-winter surge in infections is to offer $200 to teenagers who get vaccinated (that’s good), encourage oldsters to get booster shots (I qualify!), and nada else. I say bring back the mask mandate, demand that people have to carry a vaccine passport to use public facilities, and get serious about dealing with the problem once and for all.

Also, tell the lunatic man-babies who whine about muh freedumbs to sit the fuck down, shut up, and be responsible adults.


  1. garnetstar says

    Does your school post the daily or weekly number of cases, on campus and off, faculty, staff. and student catgories? Mine does. I used to enjoy laughing evilly at the growing numbers, as in “We told you so!” to the administration. Last spring they finally noticed, and we went into lockdown, not even so much as stepping onto campus, for two weeks.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    Even back when I was a conservative Republican (i.e. late 80s to the late 90s), I would NEVER have signed on to the anti-mask/ anti-vaxx/COVID-denialism that has taken control of the Right. Yeah, I fell for BS like the Laffer curve, the ”threat” of “political correctness,” fetuses have human rights, and even that environmentalism was a Marxist plot. However, the flat-out rejection of public health or even the basics of germ theory being made these days would have been way too much for me to take seriously.

    That said, in retrospect, I can see how the right got this way. Throughout the 90s, the Right’s anger that a draft-dodging, dope-smoking boomer and his feminist wife got elected president opened the doors to conspiracy theorists (e.g. Whitewater, Vince Foster’s death, etc.). Then 9-11 blew those doors off their hinges, letting in more paranoia and crypto-fascist absurdities into mainstream political dialogue. Then…GASP… a black man with an Islamic-sounding name got elected president. It was only a matter of time before something like this was going to happen,

  3. unclefrogy says

    Also, tell the lunatic man-babies who whine about “muh freedumbs” to sit the fuck down, shut up, and be responsible adults.

    that right there is the thing do not understand. How is it that so very few and then only rarely seem to say things remotely like that . Why does it seem that these kinds of reactions get taken seriously enough that rational argument it attempted with deliberately lying and obstinately ignorant people. It is not just in this case, the pandemic just highlights and draws attention to this reaction and the pointless resistance to reality the resistance illustrates.

  4. PaulBC says

    Because nobody here is taking it seriously. No masks, no vaccine requirements, public schools are wide open, who cares if Grandma dies.

    I really don’t get that. Where I live (SF Bay Area) I still see people taking outdoor walks with masks, which is probably unnecessary, but it’s fine with me. (I just give everyone wide berth.) Masks are required by law for indoor shopping, and nobody complains. There was a brief period during the summer when masks were not required, and a few people shopped at our local Costco without them, but really very few even then. My son’s university was also successful with vaccine requirements for students and staff, though not quite 100% compliance. I saw someone accidentally enter a store without a mask and he immediately apologized and put it on when it was pointed out.

    I thought people were supposed to be boring and responsible in Minnesota. (Where did I get that idea? Based on Garrison Keillor, I might equally assume them to be too fatalistic to try to do anything about disease.) I also don’t understand, even if people started out thinking COVID-19 wasn’t a big deal, how they could believe it at this point. Sorry, there are things I understand even when I disagree with people, but this one is just baffling.

  5. robro says

    Speaking of the Army’s vaccination policy, I’m waiting for the blowback over Colin Powell’s death who was fully vaccinated yet died of “COVID-19 complications” as the media put it. “See, the vaccine doesn’t work” some idiots will chortle. He died of multiple myeloma which compromised his immune system and which COVID could take advantage of. It took hours to get that detail into the story and those that want any excuse to deny the reality will have one.

  6. PaulBC says


    “See, the vaccine doesn’t work” some idiots will chortle.

    They’re doing it already, and yes it sounds like Powell was very ill to begin with. I don’t know the details of his cancer treatment, but it would be typical for chemotherapy to cause neutropenia and leave you susceptible to many diseases. Your vaccination won’t help much if your entire immune system is suppressed.

    I would say the takeaway is that if more people had been vaccinated, we could have been over the pandemic by now, and Powell, would not have died of coronavirus. The vaccines are very effective, and I have yet to hear of a “breakthrough” case that led to serious illness did not have a clear explanation as Powell’s did. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t one, but they are very rare.

    The fact that vaccines aren’t as effective on people with certain medical conditions is a big reason that healthy people should get vaccinated.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    So the idiot anti-vaxxers will use his death for propaganda.
    He disinformed when both alive and dead. Except the latter is not his fault.
    France did the right thing with vaccine passports needed for access. Some demonstrations but fewer dead.

  8. brucegee1962 says

    The thing is, if covid had popped up in the Eisenhower era, the Republicans back then would have been first in line to get shots. They thought they owned the whole “civic responsibility” brand back then. Same thing in the Reagan era and all points in between. It was the libs who distrusted the government and science (mainly because of Vietnam and nukes, respectively). Is it only people my age who realize how completely the two parties have traded places on this issue, or how very non- “conservative” the current Republicans really are?

  9. says

    @9 Bruce
    I grew up during the Regan years and up until Trump I had a deep distrust of government agencies. Trump flipped everything on its head for me. All of a sudden I was rooting for the FBI and NSA to stop the traitorous bastard in the White House. Congratulations Donny, you made me trust the FBI. The Proud Boys made me trust the cops, sort of. My anarchist heart is on the side of law and order for now only because I hate corruption far more than oppression.

  10. PaulBC says

    Ray Ceeya@10 I thought it was a little bizarre watching some of my fellow liberals hoping desperately for the national security state to step in and “do something” about Trump. I mean, I have no problem with the permanent government in terms of civil servants, diplomats, science advisors, etc. You need to hold onto experience. But this seemed to stretch beyond it to a desire for exactly the kind of shadow government that conspiracy theorists are certain exists. If anything, Trump convinced me that there is no organization with that level of control, because Trump was allowed to run amok.

    Attitudes toward civic responsibility have shifted very noticeably in my lifetime, but Reagan really was the one who proclaimed that government was the problem, and the Republican party has been dedicated to proving him right, each time one of them is elected to office. It’s not surprised that this has morphed into a complete dismissal of the social contract.

  11. whheydt says

    Re: brucegee1962 @ #9…
    I think the major political switch happened from 1964 to 1968. In ’64, Johnson got Civil Rights laws passed and pissed off a lot of southern Democrats, who were only Democrats because Lincoln was a Republican. This led to Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” in 1968 and the switch was effectively complete. It did tack several more decades to make the sweep complete, but ti was functionally there at that point.

  12. says

    @11 Paul
    And yet it was George W. Bush who orchestrated the largest increase in governmental power and surveillance since the McCarthy Era. Department of Homeland Security. PATRIOT Act. 9-11 was 20 years ago and we’re still taking our shoes off at the airport. If they really gave a damn about small government then DHS and the TSA are a good place to start.

  13. consciousness razor says

    Ray Ceeya:
    But the Republicans were the most rabid anti-communists back in the McCarthy era too (including McCarthy himself, obviously) and were happy to bring down the hammer on anyone who simply got in their way. Because they’ve always been full of shit about freedom, law and order, limited government … all of it.

    Also, despite the way some talk about Eisenhower now, it’s notable that he nonetheless endorsed Goldwater in 1964. (So did Ayn Rand, Nixon, Reagan, and Jimmy Stewart, to name just a few.) I mean, I honestly don’t know much about Eisenhower, but that’s the sort of principled, moderate conservatism that you only see these days whenever people like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio get in line to lick Trump’s boots. (That is, you see it happening daily. Win or lose, they’re always like that.)

    Things were (to put it mildly) just a little bit more contentious among Democrats around 1968 or so, and that certainly wasn’t just about Southern Dems although they were of course a part of the bigger clusterfuck.

  14. says

    @14 razor
    But the Republicans were the most rabid anti-communists back in the McCarthy era too
    Not so sure about that. I only doubt you because I heard that same talking point in a Prager U video. Rather the critique of a PU video. I would speculate that there were as many anti-communist Dems and Republicans at that time. The political spectrum is not a simple left vs. right axis. That simplification is toxic to any conversation about where we are or should be heading.

  15. unclefrogy says

    well there was the issues of war, race and labor all tangled up
    the backdrop of fear that the conservative republicans and the ultra-right wing have always thumped on, the red scare, any and all integration issues were resisted in every state north and south, just look at busing in boston.
    the demonization of all left wing liberal progressive ideas as evil. and the increasing lack of unapologetic support of progressive ideas was a great slide down to the place we find ourselves in there are a few more lately who are more strident maybe that number will increase, it is past time .

  16. fergl says

    Stop boasting Minnesota. 7th FFS. We here in UK are 1st for covid cases and thats in the world!! Take that America.

  17. Kagehi says

    @15 Ray Ceeya

    Yeah, just about everyone was, at some point, watching Red Dawn and similar anti-communist gibberish, then thinking, “Go USA”. It was, and for some people still is, deeply embedded in their psyche that anything that isn’t “Democratic Capitalism” is, by default, “Communism”, and therefor – long list of bad things some countries did, and anyone wanting such things will also do, as a direct result. It took the fall of Russia, the conversion of China into something pseudo capitalist (but still evil), and a slow realization that the problem wasn’t what we where all told it was, but it was instead a sort of “cult” mentality, combined with a seemingly unavoidable (without someone slapping it down again) rise of elite, “do nothings (or almost nothing), but we have all the money”, class, who end up with all the power, and no respect for anyone who doesn’t have any, to wake up to the fact that a) everyone just lumps shit they don’t like into a label, without regard for what the label is supposed to mean, and b) its almost meaningless where your “starting point” is, if you allow greed, and the propagation of fear, sustained by lies, to define your national identity.

    There is, after all, a reason why every one of the “shit” nations tends to be convinced that everyone else is out to get them, and that other countries are all some sort of terrible wasteland, filled with injustice and brutality. Even if, sometimes, true, it is the ultimate lie, “Our injustice and brutality is just a problem to solve, but if we become anything like them, then OMG think of all the far more horrible things that will happen!!!” And, what does, “becoming like them”, mean? Simple – changing literally anything we currently do, who we elect, how we treat others, what sort of programs exist (unless they are approved ones, like “religious charity”), etc., which would push us closer to those “other terrible places”. Oh, and, of course, everyplace else is also terrible – “I mean, by gosh, just look how long it takes in some ‘more socialist’ country to get a face lift!”, says someone waiting as long, or longer, to get any other sort of non-selective treatment.

    Some of us are on to the game. The rest… are still deeply invested in the, “I get to vote, and can one day be rich, as long as we don’t become like those other scary places!”, BS. For them.. its disturbingly black and white.

  18. cartomancer says

    fergl, #7,

    Really? According to whose statistics? Admittedly my first port of call was the first google result that came up (https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/) but according to what I found we aren’t first in either cases (absolute or per capita) or deaths. Indeed, the US is higher on both (136,615 confirmed cases per million versus 126,521 and 2202 deaths per million versus 2068). We’re not even highest in Europe, with Italy and many Eastern European countries higher.

    Which suggests that their response efforts must be reeeeeeally crap if even our lacklustre flip-floppery on the issue has been better.

  19. consciousness razor says


    No 1 for Covid levels per 100,000 right now

    Assuming you’re talking about “active cases,” then according to the current figures from worldometer, the US is ahead of the UK.

    US: 9,589,068 active / 333,516,610 people → 0.02875 per capita
    UK: 1,404,586 active / 68,347,917 people → 0.02055 per capita

    (There are 17,766,482 worldwide, so the US & UK alone make up 61.9% of the total.)

    I haven’t calculated it per capita (or per 100,000) for every other country, but the numbers drop off fairly quickly when you sort by active cases…. If another country does have a higher proportion right now, it looks like they’d need to be quite a bit smaller in absolute terms.

  20. says

    There were right wing opponents to public health measures back in the ’50s as well. Water fluoridation was opposed by groups like the John Birch Society.

  21. davidc1 says

    @18 Well ,any takers that GB will suffer another lock down between now and xmas ?
    According to the Guardian there are 50,000 new cases a day ,also I read somewhere
    there are thousands of kids off from school .
    Plus just to add to the fun ,an offshoot of the Delta variant is stalking the land ,like a big stalking thing .

    @25 And General Jack D Ripper USAF .

  22. consciousness razor says

    There were right wing opponents to public health measures back in the ’50s as well. Water fluoridation was opposed by groups like the John Birch Society.

    Yep. Along with basically every other part of the New Deal, as well as Medicare/Medicaid in the 60s, etc. Of course, Birchers (and McCarthy, etc.) made other conservatives look pretty bad, so some did try to distance themselves with regard to some of the worst garbage they spewed, but there was plenty of agreement on the basics.

    So, yes…. The invention of “gubmint helping people!? but that’s communism!!!1!!” goes all the way back. It’s not as if Reaganites or teabaggers or whoever came up with any of this crap. At some point along the way, those sorts of views just became a lot more popular, instead of being confined mostly to the extreme right.

  23. wzrd1 says

    A modest bit of trivia.
    Remember the big earthquake in Haiti and the international response?
    Then, a massive cholera outbreak (Google it)?
    Courtesy of the international response, from a Nepalese military assistance group that had infected members.
    No joke, a very real and lethal mess, so the US takes precautions to not make things worse, when allowed to.

    Personally, I quite enjoyed such programs, but far more enjoyed building clinics and schools.