Half of our population thinks the pandemic is a “hoax,” will not wear masks and will not take the vaccine when available.

Politicians who encouraged organized ignorance are now being vaccinated as they refuse a $2,000 check to needy constituents.

What a damn mess and embarrassment.  We have become one of the President’s “Shit hole countries.”

We should have long ago encouraged everyone to social distance, wear masks and wash hands – our illness and death toll would have been significantly less.  Leaders should have spoken with one voice to encourage science-based behavior instead of politicizing it.  We all should be marching (masked and with clean hands) in the same direction (several feet apart).

People whose jobs were negatively impacted by lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus should have been given subsidies to lessen the financial impacts.  People should never have been put in the position of choosing safety over putting food on their tables or paying rent.

People who have been able to work remotely and not lose income – especially those who have actually financially benefited from COVID-19 – should have helped pay the cost of stabilizing our economy.  I paraphrase: “To those who much have been given, much is expected.”

This did not have to be our fate.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today announced it has issued cease-and-desist orders to The Pizza Depot, in Becker, and Hooligans Lakeside, in Lake Park, after determining that the facilities had violated executive orders designed to protect its employees, customers and community from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Tim Walz issued Executive Order 20-99 on Nov. 18. The executive order prohibits bars and restaurants from offering on-premises dining. The executive order was issued at a time of rapid acceleration in the spread of COVID-19 across Minnesota and sought to protect Minnesotans while also preventing hospitals and health care systems from becoming overwhelmed by the surge in cases.

On Dec. 16, MDH inspected The Pizza Depot in Becker. During the inspection, MDH staff found the establishment was open for on-premises consumption of food and beverage in violation of Executive Order 20-99.

On Dec. 17, MDH inspected Hooligans Lakeside in Lake Park. During the inspection, MDH staff found the establishment was open for on-premises consumption in violation of Executive Order 20-99.

According to MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff, enforcement actions are a last resort when it is clear that education and outreach are not sufficient to help a regulated establishment come into compliance with requirements.

“COVID-19 protocols are designed to slow the spread of this virus and reduce the impacts of this pandemic,” said MDH Assistant Commissioner Dan Huff. “Our preference is always to work with business to bring them into compliance, and we consider regulatory actions as a last resort. The vast majority of businesses are doing their best to help slow down the spread of COVID-19, and we owe it to them to have a consistent and fair enforcement approach.”

Earlier this year, two diners at a South Korean restaurant were infected with novel coronavirus in a matter of minutes from a third patron who sat at least 15 feet away from them. The third patron was asymptomatic at the time. After dissecting that scene from June, South Korean researchers released a study last month in the Journal of Korean Medical Science that suggests the virus, under certain airflow conditions, travels farther than six feet and can infect others in as little as five minutes.

The study appears to be more bad news for restaurants, which have already been identified in research as a primary source for the spread of the virus. The Korean researchers recommend that public health authorities update safety guidelines based on their study, arguing that six feet of space between tables is not enough to protect diners from being infected.

Yes, we need to protect customers, but we also need to do all we can to support restaurants and restaurant workers.

Wearing masks is a CDC-recommended* approach to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), by reducing the spread of respira- tory droplets into the air when a person coughs, sneezes, or talks and by reducing the inhalation of these droplets by the wearer. On July 2, 2020, the governor of Kansas issued an executive order† (state mandate), effective July 3, requiring masks or other face coverings in public spaces. CDC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment analyzed trends in county-level COVID-19 incidence before (June 1–July 2) and after (July 3–August 23) the governor’s executive order among counties that ultimately had a mask mandate in place and those that did not. As of August 11, 24 of Kansas’s 105 counties did not opt out of the state mandate§ or adopted their own mask mandate shortly before or after the state mandate was issued; 81 counties opted out of the state mandate, as permit- ted by state law, and did not adopt their own mask mandate.

After the governor’s executive order, COVID-19 incidence (calculated as the 7-day rolling average number of new daily cases per 100,000 population) decreased (mean decrease of 0.08 cases per 100,000 per day; net decrease of 6%) among counties with a mask mandate (mandated counties) but con- tinued to increase (mean increase of 0.11 cases per 100,000 per day; net increase of 100%) among counties without a mask mandate (nonmandated counties). The decrease in cases among mandated counties and the continued increase in cases in nonmandated counties adds to the evidence supporting the importance of wearing masks and implementing policies requiring their use to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (1–6). Community-level mitigation strategies emphasizing wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, staying at home when ill, and enhancing hygiene practices can help reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

Here is the full story : https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6947e2-H.pdf

During August 7–16, 2020, a motorcycle rally was held in western South Dakota that attracted approximately 460,000 persons from across the United States to numerous indoor and outdoor events over a 10-day period. During August–September 2020, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) investigated a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak associated with the rally in Minnesota residents. Fifty-one primary event-associated cases were identified, and 35 secondary or tertiary cases occurred among household, social, and workplace contacts, for a total of 86 cases; four patients were hospitalized, and one died. Approximately one third (34%) of 87 counties in Minnesota had at least one primary, secondary, or tertiary case associated with this rally. Genomic sequencing supported the associations with the motorcycle rally. These findings support current recommendations for mask use, physical distancing, reducing the number of attendees at gatherings, isolation for patients with COVID-19, and quarantine for close contacts to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (1). Furthermore, although these findings did not capture the impact of the motorcycle rally on residents of other states, they demonstrate the rationale for consistent mitigation measures across states.  Here is the full article – https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/pdfs/mm6947e1-H.pdf