Thursday, April 9, 2020

'Stupid kills.' GOP governors are stupid.

Here is some of the evidence to help you complete the inference.

Philip Rotner slams GOP governors for their inaction - or, in this case, their dumb f*ck actions in Stupid Kills: The 5 Worst GOP Governors’ Responses to COVID–19. This is dark comedy.

As late as March 30, 15 states had issued neither stay-at-home orders nor ordered the closure of non-essential businesses. All 15 have Republican governors. Since then, most have finally taken too-little-too-late statewide measures.

In a target-rich environment, selecting (much less ranking) the five dumbest GOP governors is no easy task. But somebody has to do it. By focusing exclusively on their response to the COVID–19 crisis, the task becomes a bit easier.

To keep this post short, I’m listing the top two.

  1. Ron DeSantis, Florida

Brimming with the most at-risk population in the nation—seniors with underlying medical conditions—Florida is a disaster waiting to happen, the only question is when. IHME estimates that Florida will have 175 COVID–19 deaths per day by early May. The state has about half the ICU beds it is projected to need.

For weeks, in the face of this thoroughly predictable crisis, Florida governor Ron DeSantis resisted issuing a statewide stay at home order, which he called “not advisable” because the virus supposedly wasn’t affecting “every corner of the state.” Never mind that this statement wasn’t true, and that the Florida numbers were artificially depressed due to lack of testing in most of the state.

Meanwhile, he watched thousands of young revelers crowd Florida beaches over spring break.

On April 1, DeSantis finally caved and issued his too-late stay-at-home order. Granted, too late is better than never. But eight hours after he issued the order, DeSantis quietly signed a second order that seriously undermined restrictions that already existed at local levels within the state. The second order provided that the first one “shall supersede any conflicting official action or order issued by local officials in response to COVID–19.”

The second order actually weakened, not strengthened, existing restrictions in key areas throughout the state. For instance, the statewide order exempted attending all “religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship.” It also exempted those engaged in “recreational activities.”

Many local orders and guidelines contained no such exemptions. Those local guidelines were therefore weakened or superseded entirely by the statewide order.

One local county commissioner reacted this way: “Our hospitals better get ready, that’s all I’ve got to say.”

  1. Brian Kemp, Georgia

Take a look at this timeline:

  • January 31, 2020: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a member of the President’s Coronavirus Task Force, announces at a White House press conference that although it was initially unclear whether an asymptomatic person could transmit COVID–19 to another person, we now know “that that is absolutely the case;”
  • February 26, 2020: HHS Secretary Alex Azar, also a member of Trump’s Task Force, says he is “alarmed” by infections occurring that have no clear link to confirmed cases;
  • March 2, 2020: Pinar Keskinocak, the head of Georgia Tech’s Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems warns Georgia’s health officials that “there is a strong chance that a person could be infected but asymptomatic, but could still infect others;”
  • March 14, 2020: Dr. Deborah Birx, the US government’s leader for combating HIV/AIDS globally, and the coordinator of Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, pointedly warns young people to respect social distancing because even people without symptoms can spread the virus;
  • March 16, 2020: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—located just outside Atlanta 20 minutes away from the Georgia Governor’s Mansion—acknowledges that the virus can be spread before people show symptoms;
  • February 1 through March 31: Just about every public health official in the world warns repeatedly that the spreading of the COVID–19 virus by people without symptoms is a major threat to our health and safety. Thousands of articles are written about it, and television commentators, including those on Fox News, spread the word daily;
  • April 1, 2020: Georgia governor Brian Kemp explains why he waited until April Fool’s Day to issue a statewide stay-at-home order: “We didn’t know that [the virus can be spread by people without symptoms] until the last 24 hours. This is a game changer for us.”

It doesn’t get much worse than that.

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