At any rate, the jig is up. The Daily Beast reports:
During a private call on Friday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott admitted that “every scientific and medical report shows” state reopenings “ipso facto” lead to an increase in novel coronavirus cases, even as he publicly announced plans that same week to end an executive stay-at-home order in the state.
So open very slowly, only when you have a massive testing and contact tracing infrastructure and are ready to reverse course if deaths increase? Nope, testing in Texas lags behind what scientists say is an acceptable level to test, track and isolate those who test positive. Abbott, a Republican, is throwing open the doors anyway, even as cases and deaths in his state rise. (“Data from the Texas Department of Health Services shows that the number of new cases each day does not show a leveling-off. As of April 30, there were 1,033 new cases of COVID-19.”) Abbott watches the death toll rise but doesn’t take his foot off the gas. (“Additionally, the COVID-19 death toll has risen steadily week-to-week in April. In the period from April 24 to April 30, 221 people died, making it the deadliest week since the tracking of data began.”)
Similarly, former Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie intoned on CNN: “Of course, everybody wants to save every life they can — but the question is, towards what end, ultimately?” Umm, so more men, women and children do not die? The conversation then got surreal:
When [CNN host Dana] Bash pressed Christie on whether people would be able to accept reopening in light of news of a Trump administration model projecting a rise up to about 3,000 daily US deaths from coronavirus by June 1, Christie responded, “They’re gonna have to.”“We’re in the midst of a pandemic that we haven’t seen in over 100 years,” he said. “And we’re going to have to continue to do things.”
President Trump, of course, is the leader of the brigade that suddenly puts not all that much value on human life. During an interview on ABC News that certainly will find its way into another ad for former vice president Joe Biden, Trump sounded downright dismissive about the loss of life:
ABC: Do you believe the reality is that lives will be lost to reopen the economy?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 5, 2020
TRUMP: "It's possible there will be some, because you won't be locked into an apartment or a house or whatever it is. But at the same time, we're going to practice social distancing." pic.twitter.com/d9ISmjIyqy
The president didn’t sound any more empathetic at an appearance in Arizona (where he declined to wear a mask, thereby increasing the risk of infection and death of those around him):
ICYMI: Trump says "For those people that have lost somebody ... nothing can ever happen that's gonna replace that. ... From an economic standpoint, purely an economic standpoint, I think next year's potentially gonna be one of the best year's we've had yet." #MTPDaily pic.twitter.com/jnlX9mCwFq— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 5, 2020
Then there are five red-state governors who insisted on the pages of The Post that a can-do attitude, “tenacity" and “grit” allowed them to reopen their states. (Does that suggest states in which thousands are dying and remain sheltering in place are just wusses?) Maybe the reopening is possible because they tolerate increases in unnecessary deaths that Democratic governors simply will not.
Take the state of one of the op-ed writers, Gov. Kim Reynolds’s Iowa. As the local ABC News affiliate reported on Tuesday, “The Iowa Department of Public Health announced 19 more deaths due to the virus and 408 new confirmed cases in the state. That brings the totals to 10,111 confirmed cases and 207 total deaths.”
Working-class, nonwhite workers are often the victims:
More than 1,600 workers at four Iowa meatpacking plants have been infected with the coronavirus, state health officials reported Tuesday.The worst-hit factory is the Tyson pork processing plant in Perry, where 730 workers tested positive for the virus, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported. That means that 58% of the workers who were tested at the plant had the virus, Deputy Public Health Department Director Sarah Reisetter said at the state’s daily news conference about the pandemic. . . .Meatpacking plants have been at the center of several COVID-19 outbreaks around Iowa and the nation this spring. Workers in the plants stand close together all day, and critics say the companies did a poor job of protecting them from the virus’ spread. The companies say they’re trying to protect workers while continue to produce food that Americans rely on.
Reynolds won’t close the plants. “She has resisted calls to close the plants, saying they provide crucial food for consumers and markets for farmers.” (It’s a similar story in Missouri, notwithstanding the assertions of its governor, Mike Parson, another of the op-ed writers.) These governors are opening their states not because they have conquered the virus but in spite of the rising number of cases and deaths.
Republicans’ candor, their willingness to sacrifice American lives in a desperate effort to shape up the economy in time for Election Day, is stunning. But — weird, huh? — Americans do not see things that way. Overwhelmingly, they reject Republicans’ indifference to human life. Their lives, not those of the cavalier Republican politicians, are at issue.
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