TThree months ago, the Republican governor of Missouri chose not to wear a mask in a store because he said he wouldn’t let the government tell him what to do. Mike Parson visited a hardware store to celebrate the reopening after he lifted the coronavirus lockout in Missouri in response to health experts and mayors of major cities.
Parson says the worst of the pandemic is over and the economic impact of the shutdown is worse than the virus. As for the mask, the governor reluctantly stated “there’s a lot of information on both sides” about whether to wear a mask, so he won’t ask people to do so.
Three months later, Covid-19 is on the rise in Missouri and in many other parts of the midwest where it is imagined that they have escaped the worst of the pandemic.
Health experts predict a sharp increase in death tolls across the region in the coming weeks will worsen significantly in a number of states led by politicians following Donald Trump’s lead in demolition. undermine medical advice and question the value of the mask.
Anthony Fauci, the president’s leading expert on coronavirus, recently warned the political leaders of the Midwest region to follow science.
“Some states don’t do that,” he said. “We hope they all now rethink what happens when you don’t adhere to that. We have seen it in clear visibility in the southern states has risen sharply. ”
The coronavirus deaths in the Midwest are still only a small fraction of the nearly 160,000 recorded in the pandemic across the United States. But Missouri is second only to Oklahoma in the number of new virus-positive tests in the past two weeks. The state has recorded more deaths than Japan and some European countries, and more new cases per day than Germany. Earlier this week, the White House corona anti-virus task force designated Kansas City as the area of top concern.
PolicyLab modeling at Children’s Hospital Philadelphia shows that coronavirus infections are likely to increase sharply across the Midwest through August.
“It is clear that from Indiana, through Ohio and to Kentucky and Missouri, as well as north to Illinois and Michigan, the risk increases dramatically across the region,” it said.
Some people in the midwest think they got out of the worst of the pandemic when the coronavirus moved across the country from Washington state to New York and northeast, then swallowed the south.
That time off could be lethal because of the initial serious readiness to the virus by complying with bans that gave way to disappointment after job loss surged in the Midwest during mortality is still relatively low. Complacency started to show up as people grew tired of staying home ordering.
The PolicyLab study found an example in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, where social distance fell from 73 percent at peak to just 30 percent. Almost no masked delegates arrived at the state Republican congress in Green Bay last month although many are elderly and they sit close together in a conference hall.
Alarmed by the rise of infections, the governor of Wisconsin last week declared a public health emergency and ordered a mask to be worn indoors. But that immediately fell victim to the politics of the coronavirus when at least 16 sheriffs said they wouldn’t enforce the order.
The Florence County Sheriff’s Office told residents: “Wear a mask if you want, if you don’t, that’s fine.” In Oneida County, the chief said the governor’s order “violated the constitution” while the chief of the Racine County called the order “the violating government”.
Some praised the sheriff for standing up for personal liberty while others accused them of politicizing health emergencies and choosing the law to enforce.
A doctor who was at the forefront of fighting coronavirus at a major hospital in Wisconsin was desperate.
“This has become too political. There should have been a candid message in the first place about wearing masks to protect others. Now it is too late. In the current context, I think this is unstoppable and more people will die if politics does not obstruct health ”, the doctor did not want to be identified because the corporation owns the disease. The institute did not allow him to speak.
The University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrology and Evaluation has warned that the denial of a request to wear masks in public spaces by Iowa governor Kim Reynolds will cause an additional 700 deaths within three months. next. It predicts coronavirus deaths at around 13 people per day in Iowa by the end of October, with the current policy compared to less than two if 95% of people wear a face veil.
Iowa has the highest number of Covid-19 infections per capita in the region.
Reynolds refused to have to wear the masks because she said they were “not silver bullets” and she was confident everyone would do the right thing. But research shows that only about a third of Iowans are using a mask on federal advice.
Doctors say the lack of a veil combined with Reynolds’s decision to reopen the business and lift requirements for social exclusion contributed to an increase in coronavirus infections in July.
Dr. Louis Katz, the chief medical officer of Scott County, which has been struggling with one of the highest surges in the state, has blamed the governor.
“We have no doubts that this has to do with reopening faster than we would have wanted,” he said at a press conference last week.
Katz says the average age of people who test positive for coronavirus has dropped drastically, from around 50 years old to under 30, because “young people feel they can’t get hurt away from their commune. festival”.
20 Iowa intensive care physicians signed an opening calling for the public to take the pandemic seriously after the ICU units in Des Moines were running at full capacity and adding extra beds.
“We are having trouble with the path we are on and what lies ahead for all of us,” the doctors said.
The letter calls for the government to be “part of the solution”.
Even political leaders willing to listen to medical experts may find themselves constrained by politics.
In Kansas, a Republican-controlled legislature tied up Governor Laura Kelly’s hands by preventing her from limiting the number of people in bars and restaurants or closing businesses until mid-September. even when cases of coronavirus infection are increased. Republicans don’t need Kelly to have those powers since there won’t be a second wave until after September.
Currently, the numbers have increased.