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‘The scope and scale of this is stunning’: One year of the...

‘The scope and scale of this is stunning’: One year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Minnesota

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On March 2, 2020, three days after the first death from COVID-19 in the United States, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz gathered legislative leaders and his top health officials for a closed-door meeting on the novel coronavirus that emerged from China.

More than two months before, health authorities in Wuhan said they were treating dozens of cases of people sickened by the mysterious new virus. There was no proof yet that it could spread from humans to other humans, but that proof came soon. The first Chinese death came on Jan. 11. Ten days later, the first case in the U.S. was confirmed: a Seattle man in his 30s who had recently returned from Wuhan.

“This will get to Minnesota at some point, and preparation is the way that we can contain it, that we are able to keep the numbers lower and make sure our health care system can respond to that,” Walz said.

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It did get to Minnesota. Four days later, on March 6, the governor announced that state health labs had found Minnesota’s first confirmed case of COVID-19. What followed, then, would become a familiar pattern for those throughout the U.S.  — and around the world: wariness; dread; a handful of cases becoming a surge; overwhelmed hospitals; emergency orders; shutdowns; a sense of unity devolving into discord, amped up by politics and abetted by disinformation.

All over the course of 365 days.

Here, on the year anniversary of the state’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, is a detailed look back at how the pandemic was experienced by Minnesotans.

  1. On what had been a quiet Friday, Gov. Tim Walz summons reporters to his reception room for an announcement that had been expected for days: Minnesota had its first test-confirmed case of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The patient is an elderly Ramsey County man, likely infected during a cruise to Mexico.

    “The state of Minnesota has been working around the clock to prepare for this, and I am confident that our Department of Health is up to the challenge,” Walz said in a crowded conference room. No one was wearing a mask.

    Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm

    MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

  2. Oil prices fall 24 percent, the worst day since the Gulf War in 1991. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte places his entire country on lockdown.

  3. Walz welcomes legislative leaders to his reception room to sign the first bill related to the pandemic, a $20,889,000 appropriation to the Minnesota Department of Health to pay for its response. Earlier in the day at a sparsely attended news conference on his tax cut plan, House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt said, “This is eating the news cycle, probably more than it should. But if Minnesotans are concerned about it, we have an obligation to respond.”

    MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

  4. The Minnesota Department of Health starts moving its messaging away from emphasizing containment of the virus, or isolating those infected with it, to community mitigation. “As we start talking about community mitigation, we’re talking about activities we do as a community, decisions that are made to minimize the spread of disease and to protect those around us in our community who are most vulnerable,” Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said.

    Major League Baseball delays its season one day after the National Basketball Association suspends its ongoing season after a player on the Utah Jazz tests positive for COVID-19. Broadway theaters go dark. AMC closes its 635 U.S. movie theaters.

  5. Minnesota officials start to worry about a wave of unemployment as large events shut down in the state and restaurants close elsewhere in the country. Steve Grove, commissioner of the state Department of Employment and Economic Development, says Minnesota’s $1.5 billion unemployment insurance fund is “in really good shape” after only using $800 million the prior year. (In 2020 and the first two months of 2021, Minnesota paid out more than $10.8 billion in unemployment payments with more than $3.8 billion coming from the state system and the rest being paid by the federal government for expanded benefits approved by Congress.)

    President Trump declares a national state of emergency.

    Gov. Tim Walz declares a state of peacetime emergency. The declaration gave the governor increased powers to act quickly to respond to the pandemic. The governor and Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm ask residents to avoid large crowds, keep six feet from one another, sneeze into their elbow and wash their hands frequently. But these aren’t orders, only requests. It is the last crowded press conference of the pandemic.

    Mickey's Diner, downtown St. Paul

    MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

  6. Walz gathers the media in a larger state Capitol room to announce a decision to close schools for eight days to prepare for distance learning. Says Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker: “I am stressing to use this whole time to plan. We are not accommodating a couple snow days. We are planning for the potential of weeks of distance learning delivery.”

    Minnesota announces its first community transmission case. “Up until this point all the cases that we have identified either had international or domestic travel experiences, or had been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19,” Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said. “Today we are reporting on three cases in which the individual did not have a history of travel outside of Minnesota, and did not have any known exposures.”

  7. Trading on the New York Stock Exchange is halted immediately after the opening bell.

    Gov. Tim Walz stands with celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern and other leaders of the restaurant business in Minnesota to announce his order that bars and restaurants close at 5 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. “These closures are the right thing to do in the interest of public health,” Zimmern says. “We need to make sure that when this pandemic is finally over, and it will be over, that we have restaurants that can reopen. The harsh reality is that most won’t.”

    State lawmakers approve a $200 million package of aid to hospitals and other health care providers and recess for a month.

    Celebrity chef and restaurateur Andrew Zimmern spoke on the effect COVID-19 will have on local restaurants, bars, and coffeehouses.

    MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

  8. Gov. Tim Walz signs an executive order to tweak the state’s unemployment insurance system after the governor closed restaurants, gyms, theaters, museums and more. A waiting period for benefits is waived, and the state says if people are sick or quarantined they qualify for unemployment.

    Las Vegas casinos are ordered to close.

  9. The Minnesota National Guard and Metro Transit bus drivers meet a federal charter flight and ferry 32 passengers from the COVID-19 stricken Grand Princess cruise ship to their homes across Minnesota. Walz says he is not ready to issue stay-at-home orders such as those that have been used in San Francisco and in Europe.

    Industries that rely on in-person service start reporting a near total collapse of business and begin to ask for state and federal relief. “As of right now, there will be like zero income,” said Amanda Boadi, manager of Holt-Peterson Bus in Cokato.

    Hennepin and Ramsey counties approve $4.8 million to establish COVID-19 quarantine sites for vulnerable residents.

    cruise ship Diamond Princess

    REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

  10. The Minnesota Grocers Association asks customers to reserve the first hour of each day for seniors and first responders to shop so as to isolate them from other shoppers and get first access to restocked shelves. This comes amidst first signs of shortages of items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer and yeast and the association asks customers to not buy more than they need.

  11. As parents shift to remote work or lose their jobs, they keep kids out of child care, causing a near-crisis-level drop in enrollment for the private providers. Chad Dunkley, president of the Minnesota Child Care Association, says there may be few centers left in the state if the pandemic continues to hamper enrollment. “When this country wants to go back to work and this virus is gone, they won’t have child care to do it,” Dunkley said.

    DEED says it received nearly 100,000 applications for unemployment insurance in a week, smashing the previous record of roughly 18,000. A third had been laid off in the bar, restaurant and entertainment industry.

    Starbucks closes its company owned cafes across the U.S. to in-person customers, maintaining drive-thru and delivery options.

  12. Japan and the International Olympic Committee cancel the 2020 Summer Olympics. India announces a 21-day lockdown.

  13. Walz is asked by reporters if the Minnesota State Fair will be canceled. He said a decision has not been made.

    The Minnesota Legislature convenes earlier than expected for a one-day session to pass emergency pandemic matters that have been crafted in secret while lawmakers were on recess. There are just four “no” votes to set aside another $330 million for pandemic response, with many lawmakers voting by phone for the first time in state history.

    Congress passes a $2.2 trillion stimulus and relief bill that contains extended jobless benefits, first-ever checks for contract and gig workers, billions for state and local governments, checks to individuals and a large business grant program.

  14. The governor’s stay at home order takes effect at 11:59 p.m.

    Walz signs an executive order to put limits on dispensing chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to prevent shortages as people hoped the two anti-malaria drugs would be helpful in treating COVID-19 patients. They weren’t, but the drugs become a political lightning rod as President Donald Trump champions them even after scientists say they don’t work.

    DEED reports more than 220,000 Minnesotans have applied for unemployment insurance over two weeks, which was more than all the people who applied for benefits in all of 2019.

    hydroxychloroquine

    REUTERS/Craig Lassig

  15. United Airlines cancels 70 percent of its domestic flights.

    The Minnesota Department of Education announces the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments, or MCAs, are canceled.

  16. Landlord groups and tenant activists urge the state to set aside $100 million in rent and mortgage assistance for those hit by the pandemic recession and unable to pay for housing. It comes as Walz has placed a moratorium on evictions and urged banks not to foreclose on homeowners.

    Tests are scarce, due to tainted test kits sent out by the CDC and lack of the chemicals needed to perform the sophisticated tests for diagnosing COVID-19. Minnesotans with COVID-19 like symptoms who are unable to be tested are told to assume they have the virus and act accordingly. State officials say they have a month-long backorder of COVID-19 testing supplies and report requests for assistance from the federal government have gone unheeded. MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm says Minnesota hospitals are developing their own testing platforms.

    Meanwhile, the national stockpile of personal protective equipment is nearly depleted just weeks into the pandemic, leaving the federal government and states to fend for themselves in a global marketplace with short supply and huge demand. Health professionals are forced to reuse N95 masks and gowns.

    Registered Nurse Monica Escobar

    REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

  17. As the federal government prepares advice that everyone should wear masks in public, Minnesota health officials say people should stick to homemade masks to reserve high-quality ones in short supply for health care workers. State officials say that wearing masks doesn’t mean you can safely gather in groups.
  18. United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, sick with COVID-19, is moved into intensive care.

  19. The Minnesota Legislature convenes for a day to pass a law that gives new workers’ compensation protection for health care workers and first responders.

    Black leaders in Minneapolis’ Northside convene to warn about the impact COVID-19 and restrictions on public life will have on the area. “It is projected that the economic recession we are now facing will exceed the 25 percent black unemployment rates witnessed in 2011 as a result of the Great Recession,” says a letter written by Louis King and staff at his vocational school Summit Academy OIC.

    The number of known cases passes 1,000, but the lack of testing means the actual number of cases in the state is probably much higher.

    Louis King

    MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein

  20. Secretary of State Steve Simon asks lawmakers to approve authority for him to order an all vote-by-mail election if the pandemic is still raging when the primary election comes in August. Republicans disagree, in what is the first glimpse of what will be a major partisan fight up to and after the 2020 election.

    Gov. Tim Walz extends his stay-home order three weeks in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions on public life have driven more than 367,000 people to apply for unemployment benefits, but health officials say the rules have prevented COVID-19 from overwhelming the health care system.

  21. Saturday Night Live’s first pandemic-era at-home episode airs. It’s hosted by Tom Hanks, the first major celebrity to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and who, by this point, has fully recovered.

  22. A group of local government elected officials calls on Gov. Tim Walz to cancel all rent and mortgage payments due to the pandemic. The Walz Administration pushes back, preferring to work with lawmakers on a program to cover payments for those unable to make them due to recession.
  23. DEED reports twice as many people applied for unemployment insurance benefits in one month — 451,790 — than in all of 2019. “The scope and scale of this is stunning,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove.
  24. President Donald Trump tweets “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” as frustration grows among the GOP over lockdown measures instituted by Democratic governors. Protests spring up in Minnesota and other states. The Walz administration has yet to announce a plan for opening more retail businesses, but is strategizing behind the scenes.

    Gov. Tim Walz loosens restrictions on outdoor activities and related businesses such as golf courses, shooting ranges, bait shops, parks and trails. Golfers who use carts are urged to ride alone or with family members only. Flags must be left in the holes to deter hand-to-hand transfer of the virus.

    Officials report a COVID-19 outbreak at the enormous JBS Pork plant in Worthington, the first significant outbreak of many to come at meat processing plants around the state that sickened and killed workers and shook the food supply system.

    JBS Worthington plant

    JBS

  25. Santa Clara County, California, announces results of autopsies that show that two mid-February deaths there were caused by COVID-19. They are three weeks earlier than previous suspected first U.S. deaths.

  26. Gov. Walz says the state will pay $36 million to the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic to help ramp up COVID-19 testing across the state. Health officials say scarcity of testing is a barrier to prevention of spread and the reopening of businesses. Those with severe symptoms and at-risk people like the elderly and health care workers have primary access to tests.
  27. As meat processing plants shut down across the Midwest while workers are sickened, farmers say they’ll have to kill hundreds of thousands of hogs without using them as meat. With the supply chain is disrupted, Minnesotans worry the state will run out of meat.

    Walz announces schools will continue with remote classes for the remainder of the school year.

    Oxford University starts injecting humans with its COVID-19 vaccine candidate during clinical trials in the United Kingdom. The AstraZeneca vaccine is now used in the E.U., but not yet in the U.S.

    Scientists determine by now that you’re unlikely to get COVID-19 from eating takeout food, but some people are still washing their groceries and quarantining their mail and packages.

    hog

    REUTERS/Daniel Acker

  28. Minnesota announces 28 deaths new deaths from COVID-19, the highest total seen in the pandemic so far. The vast majority of the 272 total deaths have been among residents of long-term care facilities despite state efforts to prevent infections there. Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature start calling for wider testing at long-term care facilities.
  29. Vice President Mike Pence visits the Mayo Clinic in Rochester to praise Minnesota’s plan to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine testing. The VP makes headlines after he flouts a Mayo policy to wear masks inside the hospital.
    Vice President Mike Pence

    REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi

  30. Gov. Walz again extends his stay-home order set to expire May 4, though he relaxes some restrictions on businesses, including allowing nonessential retail businesses to offer curbside pickup and delivery.

    Delta and American airlines require all crew and passengers to wear facemasks.

  31. With college and professional sports still shut down across the country, Fox Sports North grapples with running its network by rebroadcasting old games.
  32. An emergency state revenue forecast shows that what had been an expected $1.5 billion surplus for the current two-year budget had melted away, and the state was now facing a $2.42 billion deficit. For now, the state’s $2.36 billion rainy day savings account keeps lawmakers and the governor from rewriting the budget immediately.

    “There’s a reason we call that a rainy day fund. It’s for a rainy day,” said Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans. “And well, today is a rainy day, unfortunately.”

    Gov. Walz issues an executive order that allows many elective medical procedures to resume. The governor had suspended them to preserve personal protective equipment for health care workers serving COVID-19 patients, but the stoppage of elective procedures had hurt hospitals financially and delayed care for patients.

    Some businesses start opening in defiance of Walz’s stay-at-home-order, including a St. Paul barbershop and a Plainview gym. Walz says he doesn’t want to use police resources to enforce his regulations, but he says businesses that violate rules will face negative feedback, such as bad Yelp reviews.

    Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Myron Frans

    Glenn Stubbe/Star Tribune/Pool

  33. In the first of many, often conflicting, versions of a contact tracing plan, state health officials tell lawmakers they might need up to 4,000 workers to contact those infected with the coronavirus and help them isolate to stanch the spread of COVID-19. “These are not just quick phone calls,” said health department assistant commissioner Daniel Huff. “You’re telling someone they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID so that can be an emotional conversation with folks.”
  34. A bipartisan compromise on pandemic voting sets aside money for a massive expansion of absentee voting but no all-mail-elections. Republicans agree that if more people vote absentee, the hazards of voting in person will be lessened.

    With hundreds of deaths in Minnesota long-term care facilities, state health officials announce a five-point plan to try to bring outbreaks among residents and staff under control.

    The Minneapolis park board closes four parkways to cars to allow socially distanced exercise by pedestrians, runners and cyclists.

  35. Minnesota officials say they have received their first shipment of a therapeutic COVID-19 drug Remdesivir, which early studies showed helped shorten recovery time for people sick with COVID-19.
    Remdesivir

    REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

  36. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, tells the Economic Club of Minnesota that the virus might fade over the summer but it won’t go away. “I know people will celebrate that and say, ‘Look, we’ve won,’” Osterholm said. “In fact, that might be mother nature playing the cruelest trick of all. It goes away and then all of a sudden it comes back with a vengeance.”
  37. The state of Minnesota closes on a former Bix Produce warehouse to be used as an overflow morgue in the event that the death toll exceeded the capacity of hospitals and funeral homes. The cold-storage building will never be used for that purpose.
    COVID morgue building

    MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

  38. The State Fair Board announces that the 2020 edition of the Great Minnesota Get Together will not be held. It is the first cancellation since 1946 when a polio epidemic threatened the state and nation.

    Minnesota State Fair entrance

    MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

  39. Minneapolis police kill George Floyd. The death sets off massive protests as well as arson and looting in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

    A mural honoring George Floyd

    MinnPost photo by Walker Orenstein

  40. After a steady rise in cases and deaths through April and into May, Minnesota hits its first peak in COVID-19 deaths, with 35 reported.

  41. Restaurant patios can reopen at limited capacity and with safety measures in place.

    Diners at French Meadow in St. Paul.

    MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

  42. Zoom says it is hosting 300,000 daily meetings compared to about 10,000 at the end of 2019.

  43. The state will allow restaurants to have indoor dining with limited seating capacity — 50 percent. The new order also liberalizes the rules for bars, fitness centers and theaters. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, calls for all restrictions to end. “The pandemic fear must end,” he said. “We cannot be making all of these dramatic decisions for the entire state of Minnesota when we know that it’s primarily for seniors, primarily in nursing homes that we have to protect.”
  44. Students across Minnesota finish an unusual school year, holding drive-through and virtual graduation ceremonies.

    The Minnesota Department of Health opens the first community COVID-19 testing sites in the state, in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The goal is to identify and contain any COVID-19 spread from demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis Police.

  45. Parks in the Twin Cities see growing numbers of homeless encampments. Some residents of the camps fear the spread of COVID-19 in shelters, while others are displaced after leaving the Midtown Sheraton hotel, where volunteers helped find homeless people housing during the protests following George Floyd’s killing. The Minneapolis Park Board allows encampments in parks, with restrictions.
    Signs on a tree located near the entrance to the Powderhorn East homeless encampment in south Minneapolis. The encampment was cleared by Minneapolis Police on July 21, 2020.

    Creative Commons/Chad Davis

  46. Following large outbreaks of infections at bars in Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz warns that if they don’t follow rules, it could lead to a second closure. The Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association warns its members: “It took 3 months of intense negotiations and sacrifice to get what we have now. We cannot allow for us to take a step backwards and jeopardize our current progress.”
  47. The U.S. Commerce Department says the economy contracted by 32.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020, a record drop.

  48. In an open letter, 239 scientists from around the world urge the World Health Organization to consider the potential of airborne transmission of the virus. Up until then, WHO did not officially recognize widespread aerosol transmission virus-carrying microscopic respiratory droplets.

    Health officials notice COVID-19 deaths drop sharply in Minnesota. Officials reported 159 deaths in July, the fewest of any month in the pandemic outside of March, when the disease was only beginning to circulate.

  49. Some lawmakers try to implement new protections for seniors who face a suspension of medical care in assisted living. It is designed to prevent the eldery from being functionally evicted during a pandemic.
  50. A vaccine being developed by Moderna begins Phase 3 testing.

    Moderna coronavirus disease vaccine

    REUTERS/Bing Guan

  51. The Minnesota Twins defeat the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-3, in the first game of a Major League Baseball season shortened to 60 games. Cardboard cutouts stand in for fans at Target Field.

    U.S. Bank Stadium hosts the NFL opener between the Vikings and Packers where there are no fans but plenty of offense. Packers 43, Vikings 34.

    Sportswriters practicing social distancing while covering a Twins workout from the Target Field press box.

    MinnPost photo by Pat Borzi

  52. Health officials say an infectious person attended a rodeo in Effie that was held in defiance of Gov. Walz’s executive orders limiting the size of public gatherings. The state files a lawsuit against the event organizers.
  53. The Big Ten and Pac-12 announce they will not play football games in the fall.

    Minnesota holds its primary election. Hundreds of thousands vote by mail, while polling places have social distancing rules, plexiglass screens, sanitizer and wipes. The election runs smoothly.

    vote here sign

    MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

  54. Sturgis, the South Dakota motorcycle rally held in the town by the same name, wraps up. The event was held despite health officials’ pleas to call it off, and some attendees brought the virus home with them.

  55. The state reports 57 deaths from COVID-19 over five days as Minnesota undergoes its deadliest stretch of the pandemic since late June.

    COVID patient in ICU

    REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

  56. A National Restaurant Association survey claims that just under 100,000 restaurants closed temporarily or permanently in the first six months of the pandemic.

  57. Minnesota health officials say they’re deeply worried about rising COVID-19 cases and “steady inexorable spread” tied to gatherings. Hospitals also began reporting staffing shortages as employees got sick outside of work.
  58. A MinnPost/Change Research poll shows broad concerns about the pandemic but also regional differences with those in the cities more concerned about the virus, more willing to wear masks and more accepting of closures than those in Greater Minnesota. Suburban residents are in between their city and rural counterparts.

    Despite fears in the spring that caused the state economist to downgrade the state revenue forecast and predict a $2.42 billion budget deficit, tax collections are much better than forecast. State economist Laura Kalambokidis says the recession is hitting different people differently with low-income people suffering more and wealthier people less.

    State Economist Laura Kalambokidis

    MinnPost photo by Greta Kaul

  59. State health officials submit a preliminary vaccine distribution plan to the federal government as several vaccine developers conduct late-stage trials.
  60. The Big Ten opens a shortened season of football. Michigan defeats Minnesota 49-24 in a mostly empty TCF Bank Stadium.

    Head Coach P.J. Fleck and the Golden Gophers football team

    University of Minnesota/Brace Hemmelgarn

  61. The U.S. Commerce Department says the economy grew at 33.1 percent in the third quarter of the year.

  62. Minnesota’s general election sets records for turnout and use of mailed ballots. Despite fears that results would take longer because of the extra time needed to process and count mail-in ballots, the results of most races are known on election night.

    Voters waiting outside Hay Creek Town Hall on Election Day.

    REUTERS/Eric Miller

  63. England enters a second national lockdown in response to infection surge.

  64. Faced with spiking COVID-19 deaths and rising hospitalizations, Gov. Tim Walz orders bars and restaurants to close in-person service earlier in the evening and for Minnesotans to restrict social gatherings to 10 people.
  65. Gov. Tim Walz reverses course and severely curtails public life in Minnesota, closing bars, restaurants and gyms to in-person service and ordering a ban on nearly all indoor or outdoor social gatherings with people outside of their own household.
    A

    MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

  66. Health care systems report dire shortage of workers as staff get sick during a massive surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Hospital leaders plead with people to take public health measures seriously. “If I could get down on my knees and you could still see me above the podium I would do so,” said Dr. Penny Wheeler, president and CEO of Allina Health. “We need your help, terribly.”
  67. The state hits its second peak in COVID-19 deaths, with 101 announced in one day — the highest one-day total of the pandemic.

  68. State economists announce that the dire forecast of lost revenue made in May was overly pessimistic. A new forecast shows the state economy wasn’t hurt as much as expected and that some residents suffered no economic loss. The $2.42 billion deficit becomes a $641 million surplus.
    Office of Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter

    MinnPost photo by Peter Callaghan

  69. The United Kingdom begins vaccinations.

  70. An FDA vaccine advisory committee recommends that a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech should be given emergency authorization.

  71. The first Minnesotans are vaccinated against COVID-19, less than a week after the Pfizer vaccine was first approved by the federal government. To start, those working in health care and those living and working in long-term care are eligible to be vaccinated.

    Dr. Michelle Chester preparing to administer a Pfizer coronavirus disease vaccine

    REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid

  72. Health officials say COVID-19 cases are starting to decline in Minnesota, even as the death rate remains high.

    Gov. Tim Walz works with district officials to partially open schools, beginning with K-5.

    A restaurant in Lakeville is one of a handful that reopen in violation of the state’s closure orders. The Alibi Drinkery is also one of a handful that are fined by the state, found in violation of the orders by courts and facing suspension of liquor licenses.

    Gov. Tim Walz

    Screen shot

  73. FDA approves the Moderna vaccine for emergency use.

  74. State Sen. Jerry Relph, a Republican from St. Cloud, dies from complications of COVID-19. He came down with the disease following a post-election party held by the Senate GOP caucus as did at least one other lawmaker.
    State Sen. Jerry Relph

    Senate GOP

  75. Walz says bars and restaurants can serve indoors at half capacity as COVID-19 spread has slowed in Minnesota. Walz also relaxes limits on how many can attend religious services and go to gyms, sporting events, theaters and pools.

    The Minnesota Legislature convenes for a regular session expected to focus on passing a state budget and COVID-19 — especially the government’s response to the crisis and the GOP’s unhappiness with the governor’s use of emergency powers.

    Champs Chicken, north Minneapolis

    MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh

  76. Minnesota announces the first confirmed cases of the U.K. COVID-19 variant, believed to be more transmissible.

  77. Under criticism for a slow rollout of vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control announces anyone age 65 or older and younger people with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of severe COVID-19 complications should be made eligible for vaccination.

  78. Minnesota announces the first confirmed U.S. case of the Brazilian COVID-19 variant, believed to be more transmissible.

  79. Minnesota announces more than 10 percent of its population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

    St. Louis County Public Health & Human Services Dept.

  80. Gov. Tim Walz continues to relax his limits on public life, issuing an executive order that allows restaurants to serve more people and private gatherings such as wedding receptions to have a larger crowd. Two days earlier, Walz told the League of Minnesota cities he was optimistic about the future. “I don’t like to get too far over my skis, but I think it is time to know — we’re winning this battle. This thing’s coming to an end,” he said.
  81. Gov. Tim Walz says all middle and high school students can return to the classroom if their schools can uphold certain safety standards.
    Gov. Tim Walz says all middle and high school students can return to the classroom if their schools can uphold certain safety standards.

    Office of Governor Tim Walz

  82. Minnesota Department of Health unveils its schedule of those who will be next in line for vaccination once at least 70 percent of those 65 and over have access to shots.
  83. Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, the first to require only one dose, becomes the third vaccine to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use in the United States.

  84. The first Johnsons & Johnson vaccines arrive in Minnesota. The state has seen 486,434 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 6,507 Minnesotans have died from the disease. 928,963 people, or 16.7 percent of the state’s population, have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

    Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine

    REUTERS/Dado Ruvic



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