On Sunday, Florida Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala demanded Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis shut down the state again to break the coronavirus cases increase making its way through the population.
“We need to close down again,” Shalala said on ABC’s “This Week,” criticizing the state’s Republican leadership for reopening what she condemned as “too soon.” “I said four months ago if we don’t do this right we’re going to have to close down again. That’s our worst nightmare and we’re going to have to do that in Florida.”
Cases in Florida are indeed rising. On Saturday, the state reported 12,523 new infections in the fifth consecutive day of more than 10,000 cases. The death toll too has risen, but not as much as one might expect.
While Florida surpassed 5,000 COVID deaths this week, its fatality rate remains remarkably low considering its cases, particularly when compared to New York where Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo stuffed infected patients into nursing homes even though older people have proven more vulnerable to the virus. Florida has suffered approximately 231 deaths per million. In contrast, New York’s rate is about 1,675 per million.
The same story is playing out nationwide, where cases have gone up as the government ramps up testing capacity while the death rate barely budges, suggesting the virus is getting weaker as it spreads.
This won’t stop Democratic lawmakers from pursuing a second wave of lockdowns, however. California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom already issued another major stay-home order last week affecting millions in the state. According to The New York Times, nearly half the country is following suit, with at least 21 states either pausing or reversing their reopenings.
Even while claiming to reopen in New York, Cuomo is slapping on unnecessary restrictions such as mandating customers order food with alcohol at bars and restaurants, because forcing people to eat has everything to do with coronavirus.
In Michigan, Democratic governor and top-tier candidate in the presidential veepstakes Gretchen Whitmer extended her state’s emergency declaration for the third time through Aug. 12 and issued a mask mandate last week threatening non-compliant residents with a $500 fine.
“The heroes on the front lines of this crisis have gone hours without taking their masks off every day, doctors, nurses, child care workers, grocery store workers. We owe it to them to wear our masks when we’re on a trip to the grocery store or pharmacy,” Whitmer said. “For the sake of your loved ones, let’s all mask up.”
The Michigan Retailers Association however, said Whitmer’s order were “impossible” to enforce because of vague exemptions included in the mandatory guidance.
“Determining the validity of an ambiguous exemption is an impossible task for a retailer,” the group said in response to the order. “And now, even retailers acting in good faith could be subject to severe licensing sanctions based on the actions of non-compliant customers.”
Recent events are only the beginning of a new second wave of lockdowns despite the absence of a second wave of viral fatalities, the latter of which is cause to celebrate, the former which is a dangerous slope.
Earlier this year, the nationwide campaign of “14 days to slow the spread” quickly morphed into “lock everybody up until there’s a vaccine.” Even as good news comes on the vaccine front this month, there is no certainty the world will see an effective vaccine before the end of the year, and there is even less that millions of doses will be available in that time.
Meanwhile, Democrats’ incentives for reimposing lockdowns are clear no matter the costs. With just more than 100 days until the election, Democrats can cite rising cases as ample reason to issue fresh shutdown orders in the name of “public health,” even as the lockdowns became worse than the cure.
To partially pay back Americans for the trillions in wealth shutting the economy steals from them,, Congress passed nearly $3 trillion in deficit spending. At least 100,000 small businesses were permanently closed. More than 40 million people at one point lost their jobs, and unemployment remains at a staggering 11.1 percent as millions are thrown out of work. Even worse, the lockdowns broke the nation’s psyche with 1 in 3 Americans reporting clinical signs of anxiety and depression by June.
The devil in the data for Democrats, however, showed promising signs for a rebounding economy emerging from the dark days of the dystopian lockdowns as states began to reopen earlier this spring.
“We are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country,” Obama economist Jason Furman warned a group of prominent Democrats in April, spiking fears among those on the call that a comeback economy could bolster President Donald Trump’s chances at re-election.
“This is my big worry,” one former Obama official told Politico, who said the “level of concern” was “high, high, high, high” among party leaders.
The poison of polarization has clearly infected enough people to spark a partisan pandemic in which incessant hysteria will no longer be in good-faith concern for the public’s well-being but a calculated risk to defeat political opponents. No one, of course, would be stupid enough to say it out loud.