Yesterday, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers extended his Safer At Home quarantine and business shutdown order to May 26th, 2020. He did this because Wisconsin hasn’t peaked yet. So let the caterwauling from the right begin.
Granted, in Wisconsin just like most other states the densely populated areas are suffering while the rural areas (so far – but not all) have been less effected. So the state’s largest city, Milwaukee, is the state’s epicenter for the disease.
So the rural areas don’t see the need for the continued state mandated restrictions. I feel there (sic) pain. But there is a lot at stake here.
But what is the first response from the GOP leadership in Madison? Work with the governor? Hell no:
The move enraged Republican lawmakers who threatened to fire the leader of the state’s health agency from her job overseeing the state’s response to the outbreak and signaled they would take Evers to court.
Fire Department of Human Services Secretary Andrea Palm? Yeah that’s it! That’s such an adult move. Fire the person in charge of controlling a pandemic in the middle of the pandemic. Of course these same juveniles haven’t confirmed her appointment to the job yet…
And today, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is off to the races:
The Republican leader of the state Assembly said Friday he would likely sue Democratic Gov. Tony Evers over his authority to shut down the economy as the partisan divide widens over how to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re angry, we’re frustrated and we’re trying to push back in every way that we can,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester…
And of course Rep. Vos isn’t the only GOP politico weighing in. Let’s visit with Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow…who thinks Waukesha County should go its own way because of how few cases of COVID-19 it has experienced so far.
The problem as Farrow sees it is that Evers lumps the entire state into the same boat when the rate of COVID-19 cases varies widely for example between Waukesha County and the state’s COVID-19 hot spot Milwaukee County. Public health officials and Democrat Evers don’t know when the pandemic will end and that’s a problem, said Farrow, who is a former Republican state senator.
First, if Executive Farrow knows when the pandemic will end, I would hope he’d share that information with the governor and the president. It would probably be a big help in their planning.
But I think Exec. Farrow is really missing the big picture. Much of Waukesha County is a bedroom suburb of Milwaukee County…if you’ve ever driven the I-94 or I-41 corridors during the morning and evening peak drive times you know what I am talking about. They are slow moving slogs as Waukesha County residents move to and from their homes and jobs. And of course there are thousands of Milwaukee County residents commuting to Waukesha County…I know…I was one of them.
Exec. Farrow should count his blessings and thank Governor Evers for the shutdowns. His constituents are safe and sound because the are safer at home and not bringing SARS-COV-2 home from work. (by the way, his county isn’t doing enough testing and we don’t know the exact count of COVID-19 positives…hopefully I’ll have time to address it later). He should know better…disease doesn’t really recognize the difference between the east side and west side of 124th Street, nor the difference between Wales and New Berlin. If Waukesha were to reopen prematurely it would be a hot spot sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile back in the field of medicine:
“Even though we’ve made progress, we haven’t clearly started to bend down the curve, (on COVID-19 cases),” Raymond (Medical College of Wisconsin president and CEO Dr. John Raymond Sr.) said. “So any decision that you make or the governor tries to make has to be balanced by the terrible impact that this has had on our economy. And making sure that we don’t lose those gains that we’ve already established in terms of flattening the curve.”
Raymond said he understands why Evers still needs to safeguard public safety.emphasis mine
As of Thursday, Milwaukee County had 1,947 cases and 114 deaths compared with Waukesha County’s 245 cases and 11 deaths, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
This is a case of success making the doubters wonder what the fuss was about. Because of the quick action of Governor Evers…who followed best practices for mitigating a pandemic…Wisconsin hasn’t suffered as many illnesses and thankfully not as many deaths as some of the worst case models had predicted. That’s a good thing. But the Republicans shouldn’t be second guessing this until we do in fact reach a finale of some sort. Opening up the state early or opening a hodgepodge of counties prematurely may require us to do this a second time. And that would be far more disastrous than keeping safer at home strictures in place a week or so too long.
Let’s at least wait until we are on the downhill side of the peak.
And keep in mind that very sick but asymptomatic people can spread the disease far and wide without anyone knowing…that could be a disaster in Rhinelander or Wausau two weeks after Memorial Day Weekend if the usual horde of Milwaukee area tourists are allowed to make their forays there.
But according to guidelines Trump gave to governors Thursday, Wisconsin isn’t ready to consider lifting restrictions.
Trump released an 18-page document to governors with guidelines for reopening their economies in phases.
In it, Trump said states should not seek to reopen businesses and schools until the state sees at least 14 days of a downward trend in new cases of the virus and has robust testing in place.
Wisconsin hasn’t yet met either benchmark.