Minnesota’s High Profile COVID-19 Death

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Day 298: Stay Safe Minnesota

Minnesota Republican Senator Jerry Relph recent death from CPVID-19 has got lot of press coverage because of the way he caught the virus.

In yesterday’s post a recent Washington Post story on 400,000 invisible COVID Deaths is was highlighted. Among those deaths include more than 5,900 Minnesotans who also succumbed to the same coronavirus. One of the state’s Covid deaths included late Minn. Senator Jerry Relph, who passed away on Dec 18, 020 due to COVID-19 complications and has has attracted lot of press coverage.

In the New York Times, Trip Gabriel writes that on Nov 5 (two-day after the Election Day) Minnesota Republican party had organized a celebratory dinner gathering at a catering hall outside the Twin Cities with senators, their spouses and their staffs.

” Masks were offered to guests on arrival, but there was little mask wearing over hours of dining and drinking, at a moment when a long-predicted surge in coronavirus infections was gripping the state.”

Late Sen. Relph was also in the attendance, through he had lost his reelection bid in the Nov 3 Election. “He was one of several Republican state senators who tested positive for the coronavirus after attending a post-election party,” write Brian Bakst and Kirsti Marohn in the MPR News.

A number of senators contracted COVID-19 after the party at a suburban restaurant, including Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka. Nevertheless, Gazelka has been a vocal opponent of the restrictions enacted by Gov. Tim Walz designed to prevent the spread of the virus.

MPR News

According to the MPR News, late Sen Relph had expressed worry early in the year about the potential impacts of COVID-19.

We now think it’s going to come here, it’s just how bad and what’s going to happen. I’m very concerned that we’re not prepared. I’m very concerned that we would be delayed in getting money to cover the problems if it does come.

Late Sen. Jerry Relph talking to MPR News

“Ten months into the coronavirus crisis, the ongoing Republican resistance to mask wearing and social distancing is a striking political phenomenon: G.O.P. officials have abetted the spread of the virus to friends and colleagues, even fatally so, because they don’t take the science seriously,” the Times reports.

(Their) position reflected a broad divide along regional and partisan lines in Minnesota, just as in other states, where many urban residents faithfully wear masks but fewer do so in rural areas.

The New York Times

When pressed by a reporter about the dinner in a radio interview in late November, Mr. Gazelka had no regrets. “There was a lot of food and a lot of beverage, and when you’re at an activity when the food and beverage is there, that’s when you don’t have your mask. I don’t regret that we had the celebration.”

According late Sen. Relph’s daughter Dana, who talked to the Times, because of his underlying health conditions Mr. Relph was one of the few Republicans known for regularly wearing a face covering.

COVID-19 Vaccination Watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of Jan 20, 9 a.m.) 35,990,150 doses have been distributed and 16,525,281 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of Jan 17) a total of 239,190 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of Jan 20, 11 a.m.) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 449,492 (out of 6,206,196 tested) with 5,979 deaths.