Walz: It will get worse before it gets better, but we'll get through this

Star Herald Editorial

Gov. Tim Walz on Sunday delivered his second State of the State address from the Governor’s Residence where he has been
in self-quarantine.

“Self-quarantine. Self-isolation. Social distancing,” he said at the start of his speech. “Phrases that many of us never used
before now roll off our tongue in daily conversation.”

Walz lamented with all Minnesotans that the new vocabulary defines a new reality. “A hard, cold reality,” he said. “One that
far exceeds the reality of Minnesota’s harshest winters.”

He spoke about shuttered businesses, daily disruptions, loss of companionship and deserted streets, classrooms, restaurants
and church pews, in addition to postponed graduations, weddings and funerals.

But he pointed out Minnesotans are resilient people “with a deep reserve of courage, optimism, and grit,” referring to our winter survival skills.

“But this will be a winter like we’ve never seen before. … There’s no stopping the storm of
COVID-19 from hitting Minnesota, but we are preparing for it.”

Walz shared a long list of specific actions the state and its commercial partners are taking to prepare for the storm, but he
said staying at home is the most critical work of all.

“I know it doesn’t feel that way for many of you. Minnesotans are hardworking people who step in to help,” he said. “In
many storms, that means plowing out your neighborhood, filing sandbags, or trudging through the snow to check on your
loved ones.”

But he said reducing human contact reduces transmission by up to 80 percent, so staying home is, in effect, a vaccine.

“You are slowing the spread of this disease. You are protecting your neighbors. You are giving hospitals time to prepare to
care for the many who will fall ill,” Walz said. “You are making a difference. You are saving lives.”

Walz empathized with students and athletes missing big moments in their lives. “But what you are doing matters. Your
sacrifice is keeping people safe. You are protecting people. Someday when you have children of your own, you will tell them
about this moment in history and what you did to help the people of your state. Thank you.”

He empathized with parents watching their children while trying to work themselves. “This is hard for everyone. Take a deep breath. Be kind to yourself. We are all doing the best we can — and that’s all we can do.”

And while the last few weeks have been difficult, he warned it’s only going to get harder. But he pointed to dozens of little
acts of kindness he’d been made aware of and encouraged Minnesotans to weather the “storm” this way.

“We will grieve all that was taken from us, but we will also celebrate all that’s given to us,” Walz said.

“We will cherish each
other’s humanity. We will have endless gratitude for the lives we lead.”

We in Rock County are a long way from the Governor’s Mansion, but his words ring as true for us as they do for Minneapolis
and St. Paul.

"Stay home, and stay healthy, Minnesota,” Walz said at the close of his address.

And that goes for you, too, Rock County.

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