In State of the State Address, Walz Says Toughest Times Ahead, But Minnesotans Up to Challenge

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(Learfield News Service/St. Paul, MN) Governor Tim Walz in his State of the State address Sunday night laid out a grim view of what’s ahead for Minnesota in the COVID-19 pandemic, but said Minnesotans are up to the challenge and the state will come out better on the other side. “These last few weeks have been difficult, but it’s only going to get harder,” Walz said. “We’re going to do everything in our power to save lives, and as hard as we work, we’re not gonna be able to save everyone. It’s going to be a cold, long winter. But how do we get through cold, long winters? We get through ’em together, as one Minnesota.”

Walz said, “There’s no stopping the storm of COVID-19 from hitting Minnesota, but we are preparing for it.” He says the state is building hospital capacity, increasing the number of ventilators and ICU beds, and doing more testing. The governor says the state is also doing its best to find more personal protective equipment for medical personnel.

Walz lauded first responders and Minnesota’s medical industry, adding the work that individual Minnesotans and small companies are doing is also saving lives. He said the brilliant minds and hard work of Minnesotans will help lead the world’s response to COVID-19: “Mayo Clinic leading a national trial to use the blood from patients who’ve recovered from COVID-19 as a treatment for others who fall ill with this disease.” The governor says 3-M is producing millions of face masks per month, Medtronic is publicly sharing its design specifications for ventilators so others can build them, and smaller companies are producing masks and hand sanitizer, plus helping any way they can.

Walz said Minnesotans always step up to the job, and are now doing some of the most critical work of all by staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic. “What you are doing isn’t paralysis. It’s action,” he said. “Staying home is the only vaccine we have right now…. You are protecting your neighbors. You are giving hospitals time to prepare to care for the many who will fall ill. You are making a difference, and you are certainly saving lives.”

Walz thanked students for their sacrifices, told parents he knows how hard this is, and urged everyone to “be kind to yourselves and be kind to each other. We’re all doing the best we can, and that’s all we can do,” the governor says.

Walz also offered hope for the future. “The sun will shine brightly, the trees will bud, and the birds will sing,” he said. “Spring will arrive and when it does, we will dig out, Minnesota. We will do whatever it takes to support Minnesotans and businesses to get back on their feet.” The governor contends the state will come out better on the other side, because he says Minnesotans see challenges and tackle them. “We’re gonna welcome that morning rush getting our kids out the door to school. We’re gonna smile pretty big as we see restaurants bustling with friends sharing a meal. And we will soon gather again in our houses of worship. We’ll have a renewed appreciation for the calming power of a warm embrace.”

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