Friday, April 03, 2020

Will Red States Residence Bear the Cost of GOP Idiocy?

Alabama governor, Kay Ivey.
The last number I heard was that 12 states still have no "stay at home" or mandatory "social distancing" orders.  All 12 are states with right wing Republican governors who seemingly see Covid-19 as purely a blue state problem.  Florida likely belatedly adopted such a measure but even then exempted church gathers from the social distancing requirements and the ban on large gatherings.  As one friend stated, if these Christofascists would only infect themselves and die, it might be a positive thing socially, but unfortunately, they will infect others and put medical personnel at risk,  Sadly, from 25 years following right wing "Christian" groups, the last thing they think about is others, it's always all about them.  The governor of Alabama - a state where George Wallace would not be able to be elected today because he'd be too liberal - exemplifies the idiocy that courses through GOP controlled governors' mansions.  A piece in the Washington Post looks at the phenomenon and what may come home to roost in this sates.  Here are article excerpts (Hobby Lobby mentioned in the article is privately owned by Christofascists):
Kay Ivey, the Republican governor of Alabama, put down a marker last week in affirming that it was “not the time to order people to shelter in place.”
“Y’all, we are not Louisiana, we are not New York state, we are not California,” she said, suggesting that the fate of hard-hit parts of the country would not be shared by Alabama.
In Missouri, Republican Gov. Mike Parson said he was not inclined to “make a blanket policy,” adding, “It’s going to come down to individual responsibilities.”
And in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order this week under growing pressure as his state’s death toll mounted, a Tampa-area megachurch pastor who was arrested for holding services in violation of a local order announced Thursday he was considering reopening the church in time for Easter and is “praying and seeking the Lord for wisdom.”
[G]overnment and private-sector leaders across a large swath of the country remain defiant that the devastation unfolding in New York and other seemingly faraway cities should not curtail life in their own communities.
In some cases, skeptics have been slow to acknowledge the science behind the spread of the novel coronavirus. In others, such as Florida, politicians took heed of demands from the business community, which lobbied DeSantis as recently as during a Monday webinar to balance medical imperatives with economic needs. Elsewhere, adamance about local autonomy was pronounced. Some, meanwhile, maintained that it was religious authority that mattered.
Experts are now warning that a group of governors in the South and the Great Plains — largely Republican-led states — risk acting too late.
Alabama, for example, has more than 1,100 cases, with just five counties untouched by the virus. New infections have risen as sharply as in California.
In some cases, the resistance has led to rising political tensions, with often Democratic mayors imposing orders of their own that they acknowledge have limited effect when surrounding jurisdictions do not act. “As a city, we need to operate as if we could be anyone else,” said Mayor Randall Woodfin of Birmingham, Ala. “I think we’re in the middle of a storm.”
Lyda Krewson, the mayor of St. Louis, said her city’s stay-at-home order was undermined by the absence of a blanket policy, warning, “We have a fluid society, frankly.”
The pleas have not been from politicians alone. Joining Krew­son and others in appealing to the Missouri governor was the state’s medical association, which sent a letter to Parson saying a statewide order was the “only way to curb the exponential spread of covid-19 in Missouri.” In Texas, the state’s hospital and nurses associations sent a joint letter to the Republican governor, Greg Abbott, telling him, “The time has come for Texas to issue a statewide stay-at-home order.” Abbott announced a new statewide directive Tuesday but refused to call it a stay-at-home order.
“Part of the problem is just reluctance to wrap your head around the fact that the numbers could get that bad that fast,” said W. Craig Fugate, a former FEMA administrator.
He singled out the South, saying, “It’s almost a different approach, waiting to know it’s bad. I’m afraid that by the time they have reports of cases, it’s already too late.”
Effective planning has been thwarted by the multiple models available to state officials, who choose to rely on certain numbers and not others, the official said, based on a “political decision that is out of the hands of the responders.”
Interviews with mayors, business leaders and health officials in states where stay-at-home orders were recently imposed illustrated how decisive Tuesday’s White House briefing was to their thinking, as Trump struck a newly solemn tone and his advisers unveiled grim projections even with best-case mitigation efforts.
DeSantis acknowledged as much in remarks Wednesday, saying of his statewide order, “I did speak with the president about it.”
The industries exempted from his order, including landscaping and boating in addition to food service and others, resembled the catalogue of essential services requested by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which sent a letter to DeSantis outlining its view of an appropriate government response on March 22., . . . . “we must be mindful that the policies intended to protect human health and curb the pandemic do not also cause an even worse effect on the economy and jobs.”
After initially barring local jurisdictions from ordering residents to stay at home, Arizona’s governor, Republican Doug Ducey, this week reversed himself and issued a statewide order.
But Will Humble, a former director of the state’s health department, said it was unenforceable. “It says it’s a stay-at-home order, but try to find something that’s not exempted that wasn’t already closed,” he said.
Within states that have issued sweeping directives, there has also been defiance from businesses, as well as religious leaders and vacationers.
The decision by Hobby Lobby to reopen stores in multiple states that had ordered nonessential businesses closed prompted state law enforcement officials to send cease-and-desist letters to the company, which is based in Oklahoma City. . . . . Hobby Lobby’s corporate office did not respond to a request for comment.

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