Pints & Pent-up, a local online forum for the exchange of Conservative perspectives, resumed its monthly Monday evening meet-ups on January 25 with two influential speakers, Kim Crockett and Sen. Scott Jensen.
Kim Crockett started the evening off with a report on what Republicans need to do to improve election integrity. More detailed coverage is in a separate article HERE on our website.
Sen. Scott Jensen MD (R, Carver County) spoke about his experience with the pandemic responses of the Center for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health. He pointed out that basing the government’s response on science is only as good as the data on which the science is based. Early on, test positivity rates proved inaccurate when it was found that the Swab test kits were contaminated. Adjustments in the desired sensitivity of the test analysis also affected the reported positivity rates. Then the World Health Organization came up with two codes for COVID diagnoses, probable and confirmed, that were used somewhat interchangeably. Some reporting systems combined the 2 codes and reported all as “confirmed”.
Jensen noted that the number of reported COVID-19 deaths was also problematic. On April 3, 2020, the MN Department of Health sent an email to physicians across the state. It instructed that the doctors were to state on death certificates if the deceased had COVID-19 at the time of death. In essence, as a doctor, he was being asked to change something that he had been doing for 17 years. No longer was he to describe what the deceased had died of but rather what the deceased had died with. It didn’t matter whether COVID-19 was the cause of death or merely a contributing factor, COVID-19 should be put down as the cause on the death certificate.
Scott was one of the most visible legislators in demanding honesty in the science and transparency in the data collection that was cited in the decisions being made. As he became a nationally-recognized critic of sweeping mandates, he also became the target of personal and professional attacks. He was twice cited for violating his professional ethics as a doctor because of his challenges to the pronouncements of MN Department of Health. Both were ultimately dismissed.
Dr. Jensen expressed concern with the financial incentives to doctors in hospitals and clinics to report COVID-19 cases. Administrative organizations got paid more if they reported treating more COVID cases, and they didn’t need confirmation of a lab tests. If patients had symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as fever and cough, that was good enough. CARES Act money was distributed in large part base on how many hospitalized COVID-19 patients a hospital or clinic had admitted and discharged, either as deceased or recovered. While he could not claim that any hospital was distorting their statistics, there was a clear incentive to do so.
Dr. Jensen believes the tangled counts of cases/deaths due to COVID, that are being used by governors to shut down economies, should be audited. As described more fully in this video interview , a mini-audit of 2800 “COVID death” records found 800 where clearly the cause was not (e.g., gunshot, motor vehicle accident). The reporting-standards and testing methods discrepancies worldwide are evident; Japan, with 10-times the population of MN, is reporting fewer deaths.
When asked about the COVID vaccines, Dr. Jensen said, “Choice is 1st and foremost for all vaccinations. People need to be informed consenters. That said, this vaccine can be a game-changer. This could do much to normalize peoples’ lives. Nursing homes could be able to have visitors. We could normalize the state.” He also noted that, for now, there are four groups that should be excluded per the vaccine makers (CDC guidelines loosened that) and people should be sure to discuss with their own doctors to understand those exclusions and consider whether to have an antibody test before getting vaccinated. Taking a vaccine for something you’re already immune to could result in exaggerated reaction.
In 2020, Sen Jensen made the decision with his wife that he would not seek re-election. She had been experiencing serious health issues, and they made the decision that the legislator should spend more time focused on family. Fortunately, her health condition has greatly improved.
Jensen was profoundly touched by the number of people that reached out to him when he was in the MN senate, and he and his wife are sincerely pondering what his next steps should be, We thanked him for his service to our state and expressed our hope that we will hear more from him in the near future.