At her press conference Thursday, Governor Gina Raimondo stated that she would not end Rhode Island’s COVID-19 lockdown (“pause”, “restrictions”) until late spring 2021. This follows on eight months of excuses … er, reasons for implementing, then not ending, the lockdown. Let’s review, shall we?
> The most infamous – “two weeks to flatten the curve” – is the one that kicked off this madness.
> Next, the curve got flattened — but not enough. Never enough.
> Then hospital capacity, one of the few matters that we all agree on to a point, was the issue. Except that, in fact, this was not an impediment to ending the lockdown because it involves the one smart action that Governor Raimondo took in response to the pandemic: she set up field hospitals early on.
> Then, a couple of weeks ago, Governor Raimondo strongly alluded to an end to the lockdown once the vaccine is distributed, saying among other things,
So, try to do whatever you need to do, in your life, with your family and your friends to ask yourself, what do you need to do to get through these next few months safely, between now and when we have a vaccine.
> Now – oops, “a few months” is out the window as of Thursday because it turns out that sufficient vaccine will not be available until late spring. Yet another artificial goal to justify the extension of a failed solution.
And all throughout, a drumbeat of fear; an emphasis on the number of deaths; then on the number of cases. Never a mention of critical data like the disease’s very high survival rate, per the CDC, or which demographics are most vulnerable and that, therefore, maybe, just maybe, we could shield those demographics, take basic precautions and simply go about our lives.
No, it’s been eight months of, “we have to lock down or we’re all going to get very sick and die”.
Let’s say it. The emperor has no clothes. The lockdown is not working. In fact, it is plain from repeated spikes, including in California and places that implemented tight lockdowns, that lockdowns are completely ineffectual, other than New Zealand, as pandemic control.
But this is even more evident in Rhode Island, where 71% of COVID deaths have occurred in nursing homes (nice work by WPRO’s Tara Granahan getting that information from the administration), not in the businesses that Governor Raimondo has shuttered for months.
What lockdowns are quite effective at is inflicting heavy damage; lives, jobs, businesses, education, healthcare/health insurance, sanity, the tax base.
In short, Governor Raimondo has dragged out an economic, social and mental strangulation of Rhode Island for over eight months against all data and plain evidence. And she proposes, bewilderingly, to extend it another six months. Apparently, “it’s not working, so we’re going to keep doing it”.
It is critical to note that Governor Raimondo is not alone but shares culpability in this strangulation. The repeated extensions of a failed lockdown and studied disregard of the resulting destruction – Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, presumed incoming Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio have so far fully endorsed and approved of all of this by their silence and inaction.
We are naturally compelled to ask why our state leaders are doing this as it is obviously not due to public health. Well, we almost certainly got the answer to that in mid-September. And it isn’t pretty. During NBC10’s “Ten News Conference” of September 13 with himself and Minority Leader Blake Filippi, House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi stated at minute 09:35,
If we as a General Assembly were to come back and dissolve the state of emergency that we’re in, we would lose any eligibility for future federal funds. And we need that very badly in Rhode Island.
Federal dollars – a tiny trickle of which would go to businesses that have hemorrhaged billions, a little to insider businesses and organizations, but much of it to prop up poorly-crafted state and local budgets now heavily damaged by the lockdown. Federal dollars over the survival of significant swaths of the state’s private sector. “We had to destroy the village in order to save it” had the tiniest kernel of utterly misguided principle to it. “We have to destroy the state in order to save our politics-laden public budgets” doesn’t even contain that minuscule kernel.