Governor Walz: Restrictions Will Stay In Place “Until We Get A Vaccine”

Experts say it will take 12-18 months to make a vaccine. Walz says that restrictions will have to stay in place until then.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says that the restrictions his administration has implemented to combat the spread of coronavirus “need to get us through until we get a vaccine.”

“The things we’re putting in place need to get us through until we get a vaccine,” he declared at a press conference, Saturday. “This is not over, we still have no vaccine… and our numbers in Minnesota will continue to go [up],” he said.

This comes after Minnesota legislators have voiced their concerns that goalposts have been moved as Walz responds to the virus. Proponents of this belief contend that the original goal of flattening the short term transmission curve of the virus appears to have been forgone in favor of longer term strategies that require more drastic government action.

“There has been a concerning pivot in state policy” state Representative Pat Garofalo observed back in April as the governor announced one of his many extensions to an emergency order.

Minnesota State Senator and medical doctor Scott Jensen also voiced his concern that the original objectives of his state’s shutdowns may have been lost. Jensen has been a national voice of criticism against Walz’s sweeping response to the virus for several weeks.

More recently, Jason Lewis, a former US Congressman and current senatorial canidate from Minnesota, commented on the Governor’s Saturday press conference.

“We went from ‘Flatten the curve’ to ‘the things we’re putting in place need to get us through until we get a vaccine.’ Enough is enough! [Reopen Minnesota] before we don’t have a Minnesota left to reopen,” he said via Twitter.

Walz originally ordered his state’s hospitality sector to close for ten days from March 17-27 in order to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus transmission. After a series of extensions to this order left resturants, bars, cafes and similar businesses without income for over 20% of the year, the governor recently allowed them to reopen with limited capacity. Gyms, fitness clubs and theaters remain closed with no timeline for reopening.

Minnesota restaurant owners say that Walz’s partial reopening is not enough to save them from bankruptcy, as polling data predicts that over half of the hospitality related businesses in the state will soon close forever.

Meanwhile, experts say they “might” be able to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in the next year to year and a half, but that even then the vaccine may need significant revision after release to attain full efficacy.

“We might have vaccines in the clinic that are useful in people within 12 or 18 months,”  virologist Dave O’Connor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison told Nature. “But we’re going to need to improve on them to develop second- and third-generation vaccines.”

Other scientists warn that an effective vaccine might never be produced, according to the Guardian which notes that immunity to other coronaviruses has not been achieved. The common cold is a type of coronavirus that cannot be vaccinated against.