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COVID-19 is not just going away

For yet another month, Gov. Tim Walz is calling a special session of the Minnesota Legislature to extend his peacetime emergency powers to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The record surge of cases and deaths, and the doubling of the seven-day rolling average of the positivity

The state’s surge in positive COVID-19 cases has certainly been reflected in Brown County. Since Nov. 1, the county has recorded 199 new cases, As of Monday, we had 583 total cases since the pandemic started. Seventeen people are hospitalized, and 173 cases are active and in isolation. Five people have died, two in the last week.

Gov. Walz is suggesting the action he is considering is a “surgical” approach — instead of shutting the state down again, he may take action to close down places where young people, age 18 to 35, tend to gather and socialize. That seems to be the trend for spreading the disease in Brown County as well. Brown County Public Health says there is no single event or source that can be blamed, and it’s not spreading in the schools. It’s just people getting together, socializing, not wearing masks, not maintaining social distances.

These monthly special sessions have become highly politicized. Republicans are demanding the Governor’s special powers end, and that people should be allowed to use their own judgment to keep themselves safe. That doesn’t seem to be working.

On a positive note, Pfizer announced that early trials of a COVID-19 vaccine it is working on shows promise, with a 90 percent rate of keeping people protected. The studies are very early, and there is a lot of work to be done before the vaccine can be declared effective and safe, and produced in large enough quantities to be distributed to all. But an effective vaccine will be the best bet for ending these monthly special sessions. It can’t come too soon.

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