Walz defends extension of stay at home order amid criticism from Republicans

"You can’t get frustrated, go on a hunch, and throw caution to the wind and pretend like our neighbors’ lives are somehow disposable"

Sloane Martin
April 09, 2020 - 6:11 pm
Capitol building in St. Paul

Entercom

The Minnesota Health Department reports 1,242 cases of coronavirus, 88 more than Wednesday. Fifty deaths, an increase of 11, is the highest single-day total since the pandemic began; 145 people are hospitalized and 63 are in intensive care.

Governor Walz Thursday strongly defended the extension of the stay at home order from critics and pushback from Republicans.

Senate majority leader Paul Gazelka tweeted Thursday he does not approve of the “unilateral” decision.

Walz said he walked legislators through the data.

“I am somewhat encouraged that it appears like folks who have dismissed numbers around climate change and things like that are now deeply concerned about how we do science,” he said. “I will be glad to give them whatever they need, but I would say, and this is just for me, I don’t think deliberating in a crisis by tweet is the way to go.”

Walz said he’s basing decisions on data from numerous models, guidance from health experts and the lead of other states.

“I’m tired of this. I’m frustrated by this,” he said. “My heart breaks for the people worried about their economic well-being. But you can’t get frustrated, go on a hunch, and throw caution to the wind and pretend like our neighbors’ lives are somehow disposable, because the health experts are telling me (information).”

Walz also addressed disparate death toll data, and said they’re the result of the Minnesota model projecting over 14 to 16 months, while the University of Washington’s goes to August. 

“These models are not meant to predict deaths,” he said. “They’re there to predict trends and the differences that they go, and picking out a single point in time is not what the model was intended to do.”

Minnesota officials are expected to share its modeling data in detail Friday.

Walz also said he was disappointed by “disinformation” about death recording. Republican Sens. Scott Jensen and Jim Abeler asserted that CDC guidance is leading to an inflated number of deaths.

Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm explained in length the standardization from the CDC:

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