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COVID Enough For Ya? ‘Viral Blizzard’ Hits MN.

Plus Vikings shakeups, a lefty challenge to McCollum, and encampment updates in today's Flyover.

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Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily 1 p.m.(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

Osterholm Warns of Rough COVID Patch

If you’re ever looking for reassurance, don’t read a Michael Osterholm interview. Today Cathy Wurzer of MPR News spoke with the head of University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, who says were in the midst of a “viral blizzard.” “I’ve not seen in all of my career, this type of situation,” Osterholm continued, noting that hospital staff was stretched to a breaking point. As to whether schools should remain open: “Can you actually open the school with adequate supervision and educational experiences with the uninfected or recovered adults? And if you can’t, then that’s the first indication school is not the place you want to have your kids.” And yet, Mike O. adds, “I think in three to four weeks, we’re gonna see case numbers begin to level off if not start to drop precipitously.” That sounds… almost reassuring. 

New Council Member Challenges Mpls Encampment Dismantling

It’s fuckin’ cold outside! And some people are still living in tents. And the City of Minneapolis still wants to dismantle those encampments. In the next 10 days, the city plans to tear down Near North and North Loop encampments, sending the unhoused population there to… new encampments that’ll be torn down in a few months. But the plan is not without opposition,  with incoming Council Member Robin Wonsley Worlobah of Ward 2 posting an open letter that states: “To destroy peoples’ homes with nothing more than a list of possibly underfunded and overwhelmed resources in the midst of a Coronavirus surge while temperatures are routinely below zero is inhumane.” The post also raised questions of decision-making, transparency, COVID safety, and financial responsibility.

McCollum’s Getting Primaried from the Left

A progressive challenger is hoping to snatch the U.S. House seat Rep. Betty McCollum has held since 2001. St. Paul’s Amane Badhasso, a community organizer and Ethiopian refugee, raised serious funds in the final quarter of 2021, the Intercept reports: $300,000. McCollum has served as a rare and reliable voice for Palestinian rights while in congress, Ryan Grim writes, though her lefty bona fides are otherwise unimpressive. One of the House’s loudest progressive voices, Rep. Ilhan Omar, is apparently a huge fan of Badhasso, though she has yet to issue an endorsement. “She truly is one of the most impressive people I have ever met,” Omar told Grim. “She is incredible, and I have never met anyone who disagrees in [the] decade I have known her.” McCollum, meanwhile, downplayed the threat to her job security, writing in an email to allies: “Energy is important but my energy is focused on governing and chairing the largest and most powerful appropriations subcommittee in Congress.”

Hey, Wanna Coach the Vikings?

Football! We don’t talk about that a lot over here at Racket, mostly because the rest of the world talks about it quite a bit. But it seems to keep happening, it seems to keep making y’all miserable, and sometimes there’s news even we can’t ignore. Usually it’s when someone says something dumb, or a local quarterback keeps a tube full of rocks to remind him of his mortality. But a head coach and a general manager getting fired also qualifies as Racket-level sports news. The Vikings announced today that both GM Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer are out. (To give you an idea of how long ago I stopped following sports, I almost called him “Don Zimmer.”) Anyway good luck to the new guys, whoever they turn out to be, and to our team’s upstanding absentee owners, the Wilfs, who, like everyone from New Jersey, only want what’s best for you.