Thirty dead, COVID-19 cases will soon top 1,000 in state
by Tru Newman
Thirty Minnesotans have died from the COVID-19 virus since the disease was first detected in early March.
Another sad milestone was reached when the number of confirmed cases reached 986 and will likely breach 1,000 by Tuesday.
An uneven, nationwide lockdown meant to "flatten the curve" of the disease has been initiated by the states with the federal government offering some guidelines, such as staying at least six feet way from others, covering coughs, washing hands frequently and staying home, if possible.
Schools have been shuttered, replaced with distance learning, non-essential businesses have closed, while restaurants, grocery stores and others offering essential services are interacting differently with the public in an effort to maintain social distancing.
Lack of a uniform strategy has caused some confusion and discord. Eight states, all led by Republican governors, have yet to issue shelter in place orders. The concern exists that when the states who have issued the orders are starting to see fewer cases of the virus, those who did not will begin to spike and re-start the cycle.
Some governors, such as Andrew Cuomo, of New York, and Gretchen Whitmer, of Michigan, have expressed frustration that the national government has not taken a greater leadership role and been more proactive in combatting a threat that crosses state lines.
Whitmer has been particularly vocal. "To hear the leader of the federal government tell us to work around the federal government because it's too slow is kind of mind boggling," she told media.
Her comments were in response to Pres. Donald Trump's statements last Monday in a conference call to the nation's governors.
Trump told the group they shouldn't count on significant aid from Washington in acquiring vital medical equipment such as respirators and ventilators. Trump responded to Whitmer on Twitter:
"Failing Michigan governor must work harder and be more proactive. We are pushing her to get the job done. I stand with Michigan!"
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz sent a letter to Trump on Sunday, prior to his State of the State address, requesting that Minnesota be authorized emergency protective measures. The president can enact such measures through a major disaster declaration.
Walz said disaster relief funding would alleviate the outbreak's effects on public health, state resources, unemployment and healthcare facilities, amongst other affected entities.
Like the other 49 states, Minnesota is reeling from a spike in unemployment due to businesses closing so citzens may avoid close contact.
Nearly 300,000 Minnesotans have applied for unemployment in the weeks since Walz made his 'shelter in place' declaration. That's roughly 30 times the volume state workers have seen in a similar time period in recent years.