While acknowledging there are "long hours of darkness" ahead of Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz says his state is "strong, resilient, and united" in the face of the threat of COVID-19.
In a speech dominated by the novel coronavirus, Gov. Walz sought to provide comfort and hope amid the gloom of the current circumstances.
He described it as a "winter like we've never seen before," Walz warned Minnesotans that the situation is going to get worse before it gets better, as the state's confirmed coronavirus case numbers approach 1,000, with 29 deaths so far.
Referencing his "Stay at Home" order that is now entering its second week – and may be extended further later this week, Walz said: "Staying home is the only vaccine we have right now. You are slowing the spread of this disease. you are making a difference, and you are certainly saving lives."
He likened Minnesota's response to the pandemic to the state's annual experience with winter, saying that the best thing the state can do is prepare for it, and help each other through it.
He paid tribute to the state's healthcare workers, who are on the frontlines of the battle against the virus, as well as Minnesota teachers who continue to educate from a distance.
Also getting a mention are some of the workers who have been "overlooked before" the crisis hit.
"When times got tough who did we lean on? It was the nurse, the grocery worker, the truck driver, the farmer, the janitor."
Referencing the community mitigation efforts that have gone into effect on his watch, including the ongoing Stay at Home order and the shutdown of bars and restaurants, Walz says that he has fought for America's freedoms in the past during his military service, and wouldn't have imposed such restrictions if they weren't necessary.
"I don't take what we've asked of you lightly ... in a democracy any actions to restrict these rights cannot be enacted lightly, but in the moment they're saving lives."
Minnesota's models are predicting that the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak, delayed because of the ongoing mitigation efforts, is likely to hit between mid-May and mid-June, though the state is expected to get updated models in the near future that may indicate a shift.
Nonetheless, Walz warned that "these last few weeks have been difficult, but it's only going to get harder," warning that "long hours of darkness are in front of us."
"It's going to be a cold, long winter but how do we get through winters? We get through them together, as one Minnesota."
He finished on a note of hope, saying: "A new day will come ... spring will arrive, and when it does, we will dig out Minnesota, we will do whatever it takes to get Minnesotans and businesses back on their feet."
"We won't take our normal lives for granted ever again," he added.
"Minnesota, the state of our state is strong, the state of our state is resilient, the state of our state is united."