'We have not seen the worst of it,' COVID-19 experts tell Minnesota lawmakers

One of the country’s leading experts on COVID-19 told state lawmakers Wednesday that the worst is yet to come. 

The House Select Committee on Minnesota’s Pandemic Response and Rebuilding heard from doctors who say this pandemic is not over, and it’s often been totally unpredictable in their patients.

“Unfortunately, I would tell you in Minnesota that we have not seen the worst of it,” said Andy Slavitt with United States of Care. “Just like Arizona and Texas, I think we could be sitting here a month out from when it really gets here, and I know it feels to people like it’s been bad here, but I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. So I think we have time, but we need to act and we need to stay urgent. We need to stay vigilant.”

Research also indicates that the pandemic is disproportionately affecting people of color.

Staff at Hennepin Healthcare said they’ve seen the disparity, as they’ve processed 30,000 lab tests since March and 4,300 came back positive.

“Of those 4,300 results, over half of those positives are in non-english speaking patients, and 42-percent of them come from the Latinx community, with 28 percent representing our hospitalizations,” said Jennifer Decubellis with Hennepin Healthcare.  

Once in the hospital, one ICU doctor told lawmakers that there’s no rhyme or reason to how it attacks patients. Dr. Sakina Naqvi with Doctors for Health Equity also said the medical teams are burnt out, stressed out watching patients die alone.

“We are used to helping people die in a dignified way, and when we withdraw care on patients in the ICU, families aren’t around and the health care providers and the doctors and nurses and respiratory therapists are all in the patient’s room so that the patient doesn’t die alone,” said Naqvi. 

“With the right strategies and the right approach, we can get through this virus,” Slavitt said.