Short Takes

Get behind the mask mandate


A new AP-NORC poll finds that a large majority of Americans, including all Democrats and about six in 10 Republicans, favor requiring people to wear masks in public when they are around people. Meanwhile the evidence is mounting that masks work when it comes to decreasing the amount of germs being spread by coughing, sneezing, breathing and talking. A study published in Health Affairs in June showed steeper declines in the spread of COVID-19 in states with mandates. Unfortunately, politics continues to get in the way of what makes sense. On Wednesday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz bucked the politics and went ahead with a statewide mask mandate. It was the right thing to do. While people will continue to refuse to wear a mask when entering a business, Walz said he’s shooting for 90% to 95% compliance rate to hopefully dramatically reduce the infection rate and slow the spread of the virus statewide. For those who argue that rural Minnesota doesn’t need such mandates forget we all live in a mobile society. The virus can easily spread no matter where you live.

Chauvin a tax cheat too?


Now we find out that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his wife allegedly failed to file tax returns. The officer charged with killing George Floyd was charged along with his wife with felony tax crimes dating back to 2014. How did Chauvin manage to hold onto his police badge for as long as he did?

Boosting our rural hospitals


U.S. Senators Tina Smith, D-Minn., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss., introduced a bipartisan Paycheck Protection Program for rural hospitals. The PPP Access for Rural Hospitals Act would waive the Small Business Administration affiliation rules for non-profit critical access hospitals that serve rural areas so that they may qualify for PPP loans. According to Smith’s office, Granting smaller non-profit and rural hospitals access to the PPP program would allow facilities to retain critical staff and focus their resources on providing quality care to patients for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. “Rural hospitals aren’t just vital to public health; they’re economic engines for their communities,”  Smith said. A very true statement in southwest Minnesota.


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