A doctor in the Minnesota Senate warned leaders Monday that the reaction to the coronavirus pandemic could be more harmful than the virus itself.
Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), a professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School and founder of Catalyst Medical Clinic, said that the disruption to everyday routines could have devastating consequences for people with underlying medical conditions.
“Scaring people to death isn’t helping us. We are going to in short order, if not already now, have supply chains get interrupted and some of these are critical supply chains. We need to be careful,” Jensen said in a video posted to Facebook.
He said senior citizens are calling his office to cancel appointments for blood thinner tests because they don’t want to be near others.
“The stress leading even to suicide is a real thing. A young man committed suicide last week despairing over the situation our society is in. The sickness that is all around us with people with ongoing comorbidities, they will succumb to this at a greater rate because we’re literally freezing them from their normal routines,” he added.
He also noted that many of the elective surgeries that are being postponed as a result of the virus “aren’t so elective.”
In a statement released Monday, Jensen said he is “concerned 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.”
“We must protect our seniors, those with significant illnesses, and the vulnerable. We can do that successfully without playing into a rhetoric of fear,” Jensen concluded. “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.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Minnesota had 262 confirmed COVID-19 cases, one death, and 21 hospitalizations. The Minnesota Department of Health said 88 people have recovered from the virus and 5,812 specimens have been tested.
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