Irresponsible States Are Threatening All of Us

Yesterday it was announced that 40 percent of new coronavirus cases were coming from just three states: Texas, Florida, and Missouri. Woo-HOO. Considering that Florida and Texas have much bigger populations than Missouri, this makes Missouri’s inclusion on the list of infamy all the more impressive.

If you look at new cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days, the picture is a little more complex. Josh Marshall writes that “Through this prism the crisis is overwhelmingly concentrated in three contiguous states along the Mississippi River: Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana. Plus Florida.” Those four states are in a category of their own, he writes. Low vaccination rates are a big factor in these spikes but not the only factor.

The case rates track broadly with levels of vaccination. The Deep South has some of the lowest rates of vaccination and they’re getting hit the hardest. Meanwhile rates in the Northeast are about 1/10th what they are in Florida and those three Mississippi River states. But this shouldn’t prompt either a sense of superiority or relative safety. California is only a bit behind New York on vaccinations but their case rates are much higher. Florida’s rate of vaccination isn’t as low as you might think, certainly not so low as to explain the high case load on its own. Clearly there’s an interplay of vaccination density, mitigation and regionality.

I can’t speak to the situation in Florida or elsewhere, but I have no doubt that a combination of low vaccination rates and the complete abandonment of any other mitigation factors — masks, social distancing — are the sources of the problem in Missouri.

Here in St. Francois County, as soon as it was announced by the CDC that people who’d been vaccinated could stop wearing masks, every mask disappeared from public view in spite of the vaccination rate being only around 30 percent. Maybe only us vaccinated people were wearing masks before the announcement. There was never any statewide mask mandate, and Gov. Mike Parson has written orders limiting the ability of county health departments to independently enact any sort of emergency pandemic restrictions.

And as I wrote a few days ago, I strongly suspect the Missouri spike was being generated in the popular vacation spots Branson and Lake of the Ozarks, where people get together and party like it’s 2019. But Delta is spreading far beyond those spots now.

(Lake of the Ozarks is a man-made late created as part of a hydroelectric project, completed in 1931, which has its own weird history.)

It doesn’t help that our utterly ineffectual governor has responded to this mess by blaming George Soros and the news media. (The link goes to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial that I cannot access online, but maybe you’ll have better luck. I’m reading the print version.) These news agencies engage in “propaganda,” he said, pretty much ignoring that none have reported data that wasn’t generated by state agencies. The Soros claim was aimed at a news organization called The Missouri Independent, which has no connection to George Soros except in the minds of Missouri fever swamp creatures.

A few days ago the hospitals in Springfield begged the state to open off-site hospital space to take the overflow of cases. Gov. Parson responded, eventually, that the state would “probably” do it. But no action has been taken, as far as I can tell. I swear, the state would be better off if we’d elected a can of soup.

Speaking of the Missouri Independent, here is an interesting article on it today:

Amid the current surge in COVID-19 cases in Missouri, a recent Facebook conversation between two Republican state lawmakers is telling.

Around Independence Day, State Rep. Bill Kidd, from the Kansas City suburbs, revealed that he has been infected by the coronavirus.

“And no, we didn’t get the vaccine,” he wrote in a post that has since been deleted. “We’re Republicans ?”

State Rep. Brian Seitz, a Republican from Taney County, home to the tourist destination of Branson, commented on the post by falsely claiming that the virus had been developed by top government scientist Anthony Fauci and billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates. They “knew what was coming,” Seitz wrote.

“The jury is still out on the ‘vaccine’ (who knows what’s in that),” he wrote.

Not getting a vaccine is proof of partisan loyalty. There’s no hope.

And from here let’s go to David Frum, former Republican, who is pretty much disgusted with all this.

Reading about the fates of people who refused the vaccine is sorrowful. But as summer camp and travel plans are disrupted—as local authorities reimpose mask mandates that could have been laid aside forever—many in the vaccinated majority must be thinking: Yes, I’m very sorry that so many of the unvaccinated are suffering the consequences of their bad decisions. I’m also very sorry that the responsible rest of us are suffering the consequences of their bad decisions.

As cases uptick again, as people who have done the right thing face the consequences of other people doing the wrong thing, the question occurs: Does Biden’s America have a breaking point? Biden’s America produces 70 percent of the country’s wealth—and then sees that wealth transferred to support Trump’s America. Which is fine; that’s what citizens of one nation do for one another. Something else they do for one another: take rational health-care precautions during a pandemic. That reciprocal part of the bargain is not being upheld…

… Can governments lawfully require more public-health cooperation from their populations? They regularly do, for other causes. More than a dozen conservative states have legislated drug testing for people who seek cash welfare. It is bizarre that Florida and other states would put such an onus on the poorest people in society—while allowing other people to impose a much more intimate and immediate harm on everybody else. …

… But there’s no getting around the truth that some considerable number of the unvaccinated are also behaving willfully and spitefully. Yes, they have been deceived and manipulated by garbage TV, toxic Facebook content, and craven or crazy politicians. But these are the same people who keep talking about “personal responsibility.” In the end, the unvaccinated person himself or herself has decided to inflict a preventable and unjustifiable harm upon family, friends, neighbors, community, country, and planet.

Will Blue America ever decide it’s had enough of being put medically at risk by people and places whose bills it pays? Check yourself: Have you?

I’ve been fed up for a long time. In my ideal universe there would be a new version of Reconstruction, in which the states with low vaccination and mitigation rates and which are trying to limit voting access revert to the status of territories. Then they can only be readmitted to the Union when they get their act together and commit to behaving responsibily. Well, I can dream.

In other news: Yesterday the Missouri Supreme Court decided the state government could not ignore the referendum passed by a majority of voters in 2020 to expand Medicaid per the Affordable Care Act. I’m surprised, considering this is the same court that decided innocence is no good reason to let someone out of jail. I’m betting the state government will still try to screw the voters, but we’ll see.

11 thoughts on “Irresponsible States Are Threatening All of Us

  1. Florida?

    Latest information says that 50% of the adult population is vaccinated.

    Information is sketchy and often fudged (allegedly!) and verification has been made difficult and often impossible. This is at the state level; there are some counties making lauded efforts to keep vaccinations available, despite the state policies and mandates.

    Ron DeSantis has written an executive order forbidding cruise ships to require proof of full vaccination before a tourist can be allowed on the cruise. Legal proceedings and the usual jocularity are ongoing, although the CDC sides with the cruise lines.

    Anecdotally, I have ventured out and would expect that I would see some masks in public among the 50% reported to be unvaccinated. I estimated the actual number might be 10%. I am among the fully vaccinated and the door signs on all businesses, public places and a certain entertainment complex dedicated to a rodent inform entrants that a mask is not required if fully vaccinated but recommended for those who are not. Medical facilities, including nursing homes are exceptions and all must wear masks and be checked for fever.

    Could it be that people are fibbing about their vaccination?

    Include the usual antivaxxers who won't get vaccinated because it will own the libs, people who are willingly misinformed ,and the ones who are simply confused, we may have an issue.

    Humorous aside: A relative of mine said she wont get covid vaccinations because she did not get a varicella vaccination and did not get chicken pox, therefore…. ahh, maybe not so humorous.

    Combine that with a tourist season that can be considered exceptional this year, who knows what the near future will bring?

    To sum up, we never know what is going on in Florida. .

  2. They had no other option, except for announcing that what the citizens want is irrelevant.

    These are the desperate gasps of a strangled government, one that cares not a whit for the desires of its citizens. A government that has forsaken any attempt to express the will of its voters. It is corrupt and illegitimate. 

    Get rid of it.

  3. jsrtheta,


    Citizens are a massive pain in the (likely) massive booty!

    They take time and energy away from whatever and/or whoever they're grifting!


  4. Florida Numbers (From the NY Times data)

    July 1 Daily Covid New Cases (7-day average) 1694

    July 7 Daily Covid New Cases (7-day average) 2476

    July 14 Daily Covid New Cases (7-day average) 5178

    July 21 Daily Covid new Cases )7-day average) 8107

    Hospitalizations have doubled in the last two weeks, over 99% are un-vaxed floridians.

    Our governor: “It’s a seasonal virus and this is the seasonal pattern it follows in the Sun Belt states.”

    He's whistling through the graveyard of covid deniers with his own brand of denial. It's all about the 2022 election. The calloused calculation is that taking a medically grounded stance that recognizes the need for everyone to get the vax will cost the guv more votes than Covid will kill off.

    • The calloused calculation is that taking a medically grounded stance that recognizes the need for everyone to get the vax will cost the guv more votes than Covid will kill off.

      That's exactly right, Doug. DeSantis is following the Trump playbook. Covid amounts to nothing more the sniffles according to DeSantis. And when it comes to a choice between enforcing preventive measures in saving lives or saving the economy, you can kiss your ass goodbye.

      The worst part that I'm seeing is that DeSantis has managed to attach himself to Trump without having to carry any of Trump's baggage. He's attained adoration status from Trumpsters solely by the fact that he's been faithful in parroting Trump's bullshit.

  5. maha,

    When Dean Wormer said to Flounder, "Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son," has been proven (yet again) to be wrong.

    One look and listen to MO's Governor Parsnip*proves that you can indeed be fat, drunk, and stupid, and still rise to political heights!  Hellif tRUMP drank


  6. I’ve been fed up for a long time.

    I looked up St Francois County – my God you are out in the boonies…

    Before the vaccine arrived, while my clueless Republican overlords at work puzzled out 1) whether it was real and 2) what to do, I drank heavily (because I understood the virus and the potential risks) and vowed to never be in a position where dimwits like these could put me at risk of getting COVID by requiring me to show up at an office. Some Republicans actually learn, but you have to be very patient – my overlords eventually granted me a delightful 15 month period of work-from-home. It’s been great.

    The point is: I learned that stupid can kill. Especially stupid that is over you. I wish you the best in surviving Missouri. I’m still working my tail off to get out from under dimwits.

  7. Suppose a theology that preached the virtue of virginity also made a regular practice of sacrificing virgins?

    Yep, that's the GOP today. Last year, the stupidity claimed an equal number of pagan, non-believing virgins but from here on out, the sacrificial ladies will ALL be from the clan who practices the ol' time religion. The doubling (especially hospitalizations) will wreak havoc on the medical system. It will be a bad time to have a stroke because there just won't be facilities for 'normal' emergencies. 

    The only mitigating factor is that 80% of the elderly HAVE been vaxed and that will draw down fatalities. But I will be pleased and amazed if the total percent of vaxed in FL ever goes above 60%. They will die to "own the libs."  

    IMO, Hannity is spooked that the numbers may get high enough that the rubes will realize they've been suckered into taking risks that Republicans in Congress aren't taking, that no one in Fox News is taking, that Orangeman isn't taking and they will break from the cult in large numbers. In 2022.

  8. maha, 

    When Dean Wormer warned Flounder about his life's choices to that point by saying to him, "Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way way to go through life, son," he was clearly wrong.

    MO's Governor Parsnip* is proof that you CAN, indeed, go through life fat, drunk, and stupid, and still rise to political heights.

    *And maha, I changed your comparison from soup to a vegetable because if it's alphabet soup, a case can be made that it can be considered intelligent.  I mean, SOMETHING in those cans is creating those letters!  Amirite, or amirite?!?

  9. 2 days ago, Florida has 12, 600 plus new cases. The numbers are rising rapidly. Lynne Larson in Fort Lauderdale.

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