Other’s opinion: Minnesota response is working to stop spread

Published 6:30 am Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Free Press (Mankato)

Recently released research on COVID-19 cases in the United States shows Minnesota to be one of the top 10 states in stopping the spread and reducing infection rates due to its robust system of prevention.

That’s the assessment of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The group’s latest forecast model shows Minnesota will have a rate of positive cases of about 5.94 per 100,000 people by November. That ranks ninth best of all 50 states.

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The institute also predicts Minnesota could reduce the predicted 1,951 deaths by Nov. 1 by 200 deaths if it implemented a mandatory mask wearing policy with 95 percent compliance.

While Gov. Tim Walz and his health department experts have faced mounting criticism of what some considered unduly harsh shutdown policies, much of the predicted slowing and containing of cases has come to fruition. The slow but steady measured approach of shutting down and reopening has worked well.

Minnesota will soon have one of the lowest infection rates in the country and has ample hospital and health care capacity to contain any surge. Minnesota has avoided the problems facing Arizona, Texas and Florida. Those states are not only getting overwhelmed with cases but also enduring a second round of economic damage by having to shut down businesses again.

That should be lesson to Walz’ political opponents who were crying for an earlier opening of business at a particularly dangerous time. We hope they’re studying the issue more closely now.

While the shutdown and reopening policy in Minnesota hasn’t been perfect, it has been proven to be the wise choice and has appropriately balanced public health with economic health.