Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska) issued a Facebook video and an accompanying statement Tuesday, voicing concerns regarding efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
"Family doc in the trenches. Seeing patients today, fielding numerous phone calls," said Dr. Jensen, wearing his doctor's coat and stethoscope.
"Scaring people to death isn't helping us. We are going to, in short order, if not already, have supply chains get interpreted and some of these are critical supplies. We need to be careful," Jensen said.
"Seniors are at risk. I'm having seniors call in today saying 'I don't want to have that blood thinner test today, because I don't want to go near anybody.' If they bleed, that's a lot bigger likelihood that they'll die or have a stroke than what the coronavirus can do to them," he said, also discussing issues of stress and suicide.
"We could be more laser-focused. It feels like we're throwing mud on the wall to see what sticks," Jensen said. "Singapore and Hong Kong were, if you will, mirror images of each other in terms of what they did with school closings and what they found was that closing schools didn't do anything to mitigate or suppress the disease.
"We're seeing reports come from around the world that say that the six-foot, 10-minute rule may be more trendy than real and that we may be going overboard."
"Shelter in place sounds sort of nifty, but it may not be doing nearly what we think it is. I think we flatten the curve. I think it's important to remember that containment is a lost cause. We need to keep having viral exposure so that more and more of us can build up that life-sustaining immunity. We need to be laser-focused on trying to protect those who is most at risk — the elderly, the fragile, those with significant illnesses, and even then we will not be able to avoid the occasional young person dying."
"Every year we have 40,000 people die of influenza in this country," Jensen said. "Death rate? In a typical year, we lose more in a month of flu easily than those who have died of COVID-19," he stated in a video.
"I urge all of us to be thoughtful, to think, to be kind, to be thankful. I urge our leaders — remember we don't have a cure. we are just trying to mitigate and suppress, and if in so doing we're killing people that won't get counted, did we really do what we wanted? We need to be thoughtful. Americans, Minnesotans. We're going to get through this, but it's not going to be fun."
Jensen began his video quoting from a recent New York Times column by Thomas Friedman that stated " ... can we more surgically minimize the threat of this virus to those most vulnerable while we maximize the chances for as many Americans as possible to safely go back to work ..."
Jensen ended his video quoting Psalm 46:10: "The words are 'Be still and know that I am God.' I think about those words a lot. Take care."
Jensen, who represents District 47, which includes most of Carver County, has announced that he isn't running for reelection.
Jensen issued this accompanying statement, with a link to the video:
“We must protect our seniors, those with significant illnesses, and the vulnerable. We can do that successfully without playing into a rhetoric of fear.
“My concern is that we may be unnecessarily causing harm in an effort to do good when we actually could be more laser focused on what is going to help us get through this terrible time. Endangering businesses, compromising supply chains, and generating extraordinary stress in people around the world may be unavoidable, but let’s be attentive to the voices of all Minnesotans.
“Not everyone who dies during this pandemic will be counted. We readily see numbers on a dashboard identifying confirmed cases and deaths. But we won’t see those who die because their support structure, medications, surgeries and basic needs are interrupted. We have to be aware of the collateral damage that may come from our initiatives.
“I ask myself these questions: What are we doing to ourselves, to our economy, and to the next generation? Are we overreaching? Will the social and financial consequences be catastrophic?
“I urge our leaders to continue to be thoughtful. As much as is possible, mitigation and suppression efforts should be driven by reproducible data and demonstrated effectiveness, not a smattering of potentially hoped-for outcomes. In short order — if not already — we will be feeling the tsunami impact of unintended consequences. We need to be judicious and careful."