A study published by Northeastern, Harvard, and Rutgers University researchers at the end of November is worth a quick perusal. The key takeaway for Rhode Islanders is that their state continues to be in the top 10 states for compliance with social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.
To somebody who prioritizes science, compliance rates ought to be a prominent variable in the calculations. If your population has a high rate of compliance with a particular rule and is nonetheless producing bad results comparatively, that should indicate that the policies with which they’re complying are misguided, or at least ineffectual.
And yet, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has been on a blame tour. As she complained to the Providence Journal:
“I hear stories every day, all day long — people who work for me, people I know, people at church, people in the community — whose family members are struggling, dying, can’t get health care, kids are suicidal, all because I can’t get people to follow the damn rules. That’s … I can’t … it’s frustrating.”
As if the divine educator is striving to help us spot an obvious lesson, two of Raimondo’s top directors tested positive for the coronavirus at the end of the week. First to announce was Director of the Department of Administration Brett Smiley. Next came Department of Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott.
Experienced observers will note something completely absent from the articles about those infections: a lack of any inquiry. They’re matter-of-fact reports, little more than press releases from the government agencies. Smiley’s acknowledges that “a close contact” had tested positive, but our uninquisitive press hasn’t bothered to seek details.
Where did these two proponents of the governor’s rules catch the virus? At home? At work? At a house party? While shopping?
If they don’t know, they don’t know, but one of two things must be true: Either they caught the disease by violating the governor’s rules, or they did so despite following them.
The General Assembly finally passed a budget for the current fiscal years, coming in at a mammoth $12.7 billion. That act guarantees the six-figure salaries of these two appointed officials ($155,000 for Smiley and $143,000 for Alexander-Scott). If the people of Rhode Island are going to tolerate the queen’s destruction of our livelihoods as she attempts to contain outbreaks in our state, we ought to know why she can’t prevent them in her own inner circle.
Featured image: Brett Smiley and Nicole Alexander-Scott at a Black Lives Matter rally at the State House in June.