Gov. Walz deems Thanksgiving dinner a 'mini-spreader event,' warns Minnesotans to stay home

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In a Tuesday media call, Gov. Tim Walz designated extended family Thanksgivings as “mini-spreader events.”

“That Thanksgiving dinner or watching that football game, or movie … is a riskier proposition than getting your hair cut at a salon where everyone is masked, distanced,” Walz said.

“I worry that after Thanksgiving, if we have thousands or tens of thousands of these mini-spreader events, it will be catastrophic,” Walz said. “As painful as it is, do not gather with those large families. Keep it inside your household.”

Walz highlighted people who’d been impacted by COVID-19 or experienced loved ones getting infected and die.

“I don’t want to lose the humanity that is in the middle of this,” Walz said. “You will hear stories that are heartbreaking.”

Walz introduced former GOP state Rep. Nick Zerwas, who detailed his intensive care unity (ICU) stay from COVID-19 last week.

Zerwas has had ten open-heart surgeries.

“It happened so quickly and progressed so fast,” Zerwas said of his COVID-19 infection.

Sarah Winston’s teenage daughter was in the ICU with COVID-19 this month, urged Minnesotans to wear a mask and stay home.

Walz also hinted at the impact of his future order on youth sports, saying there would be a “pause” in youth sports.

Walz admitted this was a “terrible way” to do education but said it had to be done, pointing to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Additional restrictions are expected later this week, as it takes time to draft the orders and consult with stakeholders.

The COVID-19 case growth over the past two weeks is “the highest we’ve seen during this pandemic,” Walz said.

Walz warned COVID-19 patients could fill up hospital capacity again, clogging up quick access to other time-sensitive health events such as heart attacks.

In response to a question about why he plans to shut down youth sports although younger people are less likely to be hospitalized, Walz said, “It’s the asymptomatic spread in their communities that inadvertently ends up [infecting older people],” Walz said, adding that other health conditions after recovering from COVID-19 are unknown.

“The one thing we can control is our behavior around this,” Walz said. “The research shows it had a dramatic impact on slowing the spread and bringing down the misery. That’s our surest way, whether it’s playing sports, going to school, or opening up our business, it’s the surest way forward.”

On Tuesday, the state reported 5,770 COVID-19 cases and 26 deaths. About 12 of those deaths occurred in long-term care facilities.

The novel coronavirus has disproportionately harmed older people.

In Minnesota, 92% of those killed by COVID-19 were 60 years of age or older.

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