Tuesday saw a meeting of the minds in Minnesota.
Republican Jason Lewis, who has been trying to soundbite his way back into elected office one hot take at a time, paid a visit to Minnesota Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska). He’s the physician who cast his doubts (on Fox News, of all places) on how doctors are classifying COVID-19 deaths, helping to foment a new wave of conspiracy theories about the virus.
Here’s video of Lewis's trip to Jensen's clinic, as faithfully documented by right-wing outlet Alpha News.
Lewis was there to make the point he’s been making for weeks now. He wants Gov. Tim Walz to reopen Minnesota because keeping businesses shut down is hurting the economy. During this particular interlude, he called our current situation a “second Great Depression” needlessly inflicted upon the state.
“There’s pretty strong evidence that this horse was out of the barn long before the lockdowns, which means the lockdowns have very, very little effect of controlling this thing,” said Lewis, who is, we must stress, not a doctor, or an expert on anything other than regrettable talk radio.
There’s no doubt the stay-at-home order has had a huge impact on the economy. Small businesses are closing their doors for good left and right, scores are out of work, and Minnesota went from a $1.5 billion surplus to a projected $2.4 billion deficit in a matter of months.
Then Lewis pivoted to what the powers that be might do to our individual liberties. That's when things started to get… speculative (emphasis ours):
“If we’re going to start going down this road of mandated masks in public, de facto house arrest, certificates of immunity, vaccines with tattoos to make certain you’ve got one. No protests, can’t gather in front of the governor’s mansion. You start to see what’s going to happen here, and you start to see this sort of Orwellian situation we’re flirting with. And it’s becoming very, very dangerous.”
We wouldn’t blame you for being a little behind on the headlines. The news cycle these days is exhausting. If you missed the one about vaccine tattoos, just take a deep breath and relax.
Rumors of COVID-19 vaccinations with some kind of proof of injection—like tattoos, or, in some cases, microchips—have been percolating in the primordial conspiracy ooze of the internet for a bit now. There’s even an interesting tidbit about Bill Gates being the antichrist and the vaccine being the Mark of the Beast foretold in Revelation.
Gates has expressed interest in funding the development of microneedles that would show a pattern on the skin under certain frequencies of light. The idea would be to track whether infants have been vaccinated in several developing countries, which don’t necessarily have reliable immunization records.
The technology is still years away from becoming a reality, according to Snopes, whereas the COVID-19 vaccine could potentially by ready in 18 months.
As for Lewis's claim you can't protest at the governor's mansion... you could have fooled us. People turned up in droves to honk their cars at Walz a couple of weeks ago, including Lewis himself. During a press conference, Walz asked the protesters, if they insisted upon coming, to please at least practice social distancing techniques for their own good.
As of Friday morning, we had lost 508 Minnesotans to coronavirus, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Another 435 were in the hospital, 182 of them in intensive care.
We don't know which agency is tracking the state's count of involunatry tattoos.