Media Ignores COVID-19 “Reopening” Failures in AL, AR, MS, and SC.

Seems the Media attention is all on Brian Kemp of Georgia and his reopening experiment with with the lives of his fellow Georgians during a viral pandemic.  And DeSantis gets the same level of scrunity because…well….It’s Florida.  Meanwhile, AL, MS, and SC have increasing numbers of coronavirus infections since their own grand reopenings.  And AR, which never really had a lockdown, is now in a “second peak” of coronavirus infections.  How is it that this does not get the mention by most of the national Media, except with someone as dogged as Rachel Maddow?  There are four states that are peforming as the medical experts predicted it:  coronavirus infections would go up along with deaths without adequating testing, tracing, and isolation.  And AL, AR, MS, and SC reopened while their coronavirus cases where not really declining or failed to follow the CDC guidelines for reopening.  

So what gives?

My short take is that AL, AR, MS, and SC haven’t gotten into the creative data reporting and analysis that FL and GA have adopted.  Translation:  the governors in those states are not lying their asses off as much as Kemp or DeSantis.  But give them time, and I bet they will, especially seeing as deaths are involved.

Let’s look at what is happening in AR.  

Governor Asa Hutchinson was the go to guy for the — I hate to use this term — “political” alternative to a hard lockdown to combat the coronavirus.  No, a response to a viral pandemic should never be dictated by politics, but Trump and most red state Republicans rely upon politics rather than science when it comes to COVID-19.  According to Hutchinson, he was using a “targeted” approach to the coronavirus that was working effectively in AR.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has implemented some restrictions to slow the spread of the coronavirus, including limiting gatherings to 10 people, shutting bars and restaurants and closing on-site instruction at schools for the rest of the school year.

But he is one of only a handful of governors who have so far resisted calls to issue statewide stay-at-home orders.

Hutchinson talked with All Things Considered Monday. Here is an excerpt of that interview:

Why not issue a formal stay-at-home order?

Well, we’ve done much more than that. Ours is a targeted response that has proven to be effective. If you look at any of the measuring sticks, we have reduced the spread. Our growth rate is lower than it is in most of the other states, some with even a stringent stay-at-home order. And one of the things that we’ve done is not just have enforced social distancing, but also wearing masks.

That’s what is needed as to slowing the spread. And we’ve been somewhat successful in that. And as a result of that, our case number has reduced its growth. Our hospitalizations is 74 in Arkansas. And so, I think Dr. [Anthony] Fauci and everyone would be very pleased with actually where we are right now. And we’re going to continue to look at it. If we have to do more, we will.

This was from an NPR interview on April 6th.  And you could find Hutchinson available on MTP Daily because Chuck Todd just loved having “bothsiderism” for dealing with the coronavirus.



And now, what has happened with that Hutchinson targeted approach to COVID-19?

New community cases of the coronavirus in Arkansas, where a stay-at-home order was not issued but some venues were previously closed, reached 261 on Thursday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson confirmed at a news briefing on Thursday.

The latest spike is the largest single-day jump in community cases reported in the state since the outbreak began. The majority of the new cases were reported among the general public, with eight originating in nursing homes and no new infections in correctional facilities.

“There is a second wave… it’s a combination of expanded information through testing with the spread of the virus in northwest Arkansas,” Hutchinson said at the briefing….

An official statewide stay-at-home order was never issued in Arkansas. But various venues were closed from around March 19, including bars and restaurants, which were limited to take-out or delivery services.

Restaurants were allowed to reopen from April 29, while restrictions on gyms and other indoor recreational facilities were also lifted from April 30. Beauty salons and barber shops were allowed to resume services from May 1, while places of worship and larger venues were reopened from May 4, the governor’s office announced last month.

Hutchinson has so far resisted issuing a stay-at-home order in the state, despite mayors previously raising concerns about the decision.

Wait a minute?  If the targeted approach was such a success, why is there now a second wave?  In fact, I don’t think you can call this a second wave because AR was never on sustained downward trajectory with their coronavirus cases.  But here we are with the infection rate going up in AR after several weeks post loosening of coronavirus rules.

And what about Governor Kay “We are not CA or NY!” Ivey of Alabama?  She did shutdown the state, but she got ants in her pants just like Kemp of GA, so she began to reopen Alabama on April 28th.  Here is the PDF for the order that Ivey issued for “safer at home” approach. 

And several weeks later, Montgomery is now a coronavirus hotspot.  ABC News finally got around to mentioning tonight that there are no ICU beds in Montgomery.  Rachel Maddow has been covering this very topic for days now. And the data bears out that coronavirus cases have risen since Ivey reopened Alabama for business.

I’d say that Ivey’s “safer at home” policy is a failure.

And Govenor Tate “I’m letting the gaming industry decide when we reopen in MS” Reeves has had several phases to reopening of MS.  Here is what he announced back on May 7th:

Some of the regulations are:
  • Before in-house dining can resume, the entire restaurant and bar must be deep-cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized top to bottom.
  • All employees will be screened daily at the beginning of their shifts, including asking whether they have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and have they had a fever in the last 48 hours.
  • Cloth masks must be provided to all employees who come in direct contact with customers. Employees are required to wear that mask throughout their shift.
  • No more than 50% seating capacity in both indoor and outdoor dining areas, and floor plans must be updated to ensure at least six feet between each group. Party sizes will be limited to no more than six people per table.
  • Bars and bar areas that do no offer food services are to remain closed.

How has that worked out for MS?

Alabama and Mississippi recently saw record highs in the number of coronavirus cases, as those two states move through their phased reopening plans.

On Friday, the Mississippi Department of Health reported a new single-day high in COVID-19 cases with 418, topping a previous high of 404 on May 8. This number brings the total number of cases in Mississippi to over 14,000, as well as at least 710 deaths….

In Mississippi, Governor Tate Reeves recently announced that he will permit all businesses to reopen on Monday, June 1. During a recent press conference, he stated that the state’s reopening plan has “freedom with risk,” adding that the state must address both the health crisis and the economic “catastrophe” caused by the lockdowns.

“We are facing two ongoing emergencies. One is the public health crisis that we have been up here every day to talk about. That threat is real, dangerous, and deadly. It is here, and we must face it,” Reeves said Wednesday. “We also face an economic crisis in this country, the likes of which we have not seen since the Great Depression. While we have never seen a spike of serious cases in Mississippi, we have seen economic catastrophe. We have to address both.”

Coronavirus infections are on the rise in MS.  But Damn the torpedoes.  Full speed ahead for MS.

Then, to round out another full speed ahead Southern state, we have SC.

South Carolina reported its largest daily increase in deaths from the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, shortly after public attractions like museums and amusement parks were permitted to reopen throughout the state.

According to data released by South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), officials confirmed 20 additional fatalities connected to the respiratory disease between Tuesday and Wednesday, raising the overall death toll to 466 since the start of the pandemic…

South Carolina has also seen a recent increase in new virus diagnoses, as have neighboring states that launched reopening strategies earlier than others, like Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. Before its first wave of nonessential businesses and public areas were permitted to reopen starting April 27, South Carolina’s highest single-day jump in cases—275 infections—was reported on April 16. While its latest numbers have remained below that number, the DHEC has confirmed additional diagnoses in quantities approaching the state’s peak on several days since the South Carolina began to reopen.

I don’t know about you all, but we have four states that are easing any restrictions they had on public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.  None qualified for so called reopening by the CDC’s own guidelines.  In fact, one state never really lockdowned.  Those states are now seeing increases in their coronavirus infections two or more weeks since reopening.  Epidemiologists predicted that business reopenings would lead to increased infection rates and death.  We have data now that those experiments with the lives of their citizens are failing.

And the Media reaction?  Appears to be “Meh.”  How many more infections and deaths does the Media need to say, “Whoa!  This is bad!”?