As we approach a substantial predicament in the fight against COVID, it’s astonishing that governors — who we relied on during Trump’s ineffectual response — are now leading millions of Americans onto a treacherous path.
I will acknowledge that some of these governors are doing this out of insubordination. Since Trump’s reign, many governors and lawmakers have lobbied this chant: government cannot place control over citizens’ lives. We must also not forget that Trump spent most of 2020 disparaging science. When Governor Abbott, of Texas, says that people are capable of doing the right thing and that a restriction is not needed, it’s nothing but an imprudent attempt to hide the disdain his constituents’ have for the current President and the Democrat party. The actuality is that people are not capable of doing the right thing, as that’s why the restrictions were put in place from the start.
However, it’s not just Trump loyalists who are making undervalued errors. In Michigan, where cases have skyrocketed over the last couple of weeks, Governor Whitmer is also rolling back restrictions, which are sure to have supplementary consequences for so many communities in the foreseeable construing COVID disaster.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer justified the state’s decision to roll back reopening measures Wednesday despite rising Covid-19 cases there, as governors across the country push forward with state reopenings and haven’t yet considered reimposing restrictions despite President Joe Biden and public health officials warning that doing so could bring about a fourth surge.
Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all rising nationwide — particularly in the Northeast and Michigan — and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned Monday she feels a sense of “impending doom” and cases could soon surge.
Whitmer, a Democrat, justified her decision to lift some capacity restrictions on CNN Wednesday by noting there are now vaccines and “our experience with Covid is very different than it has been over the last 12 months,” and while the state is having “robust conversations” about its reopening measures, she would not commit to reimposing restrictions. (Durkee, Forbes, 3/31/21).
While it’s been tremendous to see the roll-out of the vaccinations go in an optimistic direction — specifically when compared to the rest of the world — this is just a part of the intricate mitigation equation. As we know, COVID isn’t just going to go away after we reach immunity. From what I’ve read, the vaccination lowers your propensity to be affected with COVID to the degree you would see the disease spread to your lungs and create a precarious health situation. Science is still ascertaining whether the vaccines will have to be administered on an annual basis, or just this one-time shot. Why is our population concluding that all will be back to normal after the vaccinations?
I think Governors should be preparing their residents to strive for unyielding mitigation, as this sentiment of mitigation and then herd immunity is how you get to the finish line.
In the case of Whitmer, telling people that COVID is very different now than the last 12 months is very irrational. What’s changed, Governor? Is it that the hospitals are no longer at max capacity and the make-shift morgues are gone? Furthermore, does Whitmer assume it won’t happen again, that we are in the clear? How many young people are still not vaccinated; how many people in Michigan (who may or may not be Trump loyalists) are refusing to be vaccinated? How many of these folks don’t want to wear a mask any longer?
I start to ask: is this all about reelection chances? I’m not sure, as I know Whitmer is up for reelection next year. But let’s consider what Gov. Kay Ivey said in Alabama:
In response to Biden’s plea to keep mask orders in place, a spokesperson for Alabama Republican Gov. Kay Ivey said the governor would not change her mind about lifting the restriction. “We have made progress, and we are moving toward personal responsibility and commonsense, not endless government mandates,” Ivey’s spokesperson Gina Maiola told Al.com. (Brewster, Forbes, 3/30/21).
I’m not trying to be a doomsayer here; I’m a realist. While progress has been made, we are not there yet. Wearing masks, socially distancing, and keeping things outdoors approximates mitigation. When you tell people, don’t worry about restrictions… “just do the right thing”; they don’t do the right thing — they may even become more circumspect of the restrictions and disobey them even more, since there are no legal consequences. It’s like telling a young child: don’t eat the candy I’m leaving here on the counter, because I know you will do the right thing. Another reason why all of this is outrageous revolves around the egregious fact that this is a major health crisis — over 500,000 people have perished. Why be so blithe? If anything, we should have more stringent restrictions, so that we can place more emphasis on mitigation.
69,417. That’s how many new Covid-19 cases the U.S. recorded on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day average in new cases over the past seven days has risen by more than 10% over the past week. The new spike in cases comes even as the CDC says 15% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday attributed the rise in cases in the U.S. to two reasons: more contagious variants, and states relaxing their restrictions. (Brewster, Forbes, 3/30/21).
Mask wearing is equally as critical as keeping restrictions in place, as COVID is so transmissible through large gatherings and increased social interaction. I do extol Whitmer and other governors on retaining this requirement; I deeply scorn Abbot and the others for their absurd and hazardous action. While we have been able to vaccinate 15 percent of the population, a large percentage of this group are health care providers, the elderly, and those who are more vulnerable. Young people are not immune from the disease, and they are certainly not less vulnerable to hospitalization and death. As these folks move throughout their communities (possibly mask-less, since they are not required to wear them), there’s a very considerable likelihood they will be spreading the virus and contributing to more infections. Now that the governors have the support of the federal government, they need to do their part; and, when they do, it will help us get a handle on getting our lives back…
1. Durkee, Alison. “Whitmer And Other Governors Justify Reopenings Despite Biden And CDC Warning of Covid-19 Surge.” Forbes. March 31, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2021/03/31/gretchen-whitmer-and-other-governors-justify-reopenings-despite-biden-and-cdc-warning-of-covid-19-surge/?sh=39e9ef5c5875. Accessed March 31, 2021.
2. Brewster, Jack. ‘The Governors Know Better’: White House Slams States For Rolling Back Mask Orders.” Forbes. March 30, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackbrewster/2021/03/30/the-governors-know-better-white-house-slams-states-for-rolling-back-mask-orders/?sh=1b7670d3683b. Accessed March 31, 2021.