The pandemic hasn’t gone away, even as public attention shifts to nationwide protests of police brutality against black Americans. While some governors spar with the president over how best to respond to the growing movement, others appear unconcerned as coronavirus infections spike in more than a dozen states.
The United States reached 2 million cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, with more than 113,000 dead, according to a Johns Hopkins tally. But some governors in states where numbers are climbing balked at the idea of tightening safe-at-home guidelines, Politico reported.
Republican governors in Texas and Arkansas, where the pandemic is surging, said they will continue to roll back safety guidelines in the coming week. North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said “we want to avoid going backwards if we possibly can,” even as the state reports record numbers of cases and hospitalizations, according to Politico.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert had extended the state’s modified lockdown for another week on June 5, but announced Thursday that Utah would begin to slowly relax stay-at-home ordinances this week.
“We are not at the end yet,” Utah state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said Thursday.
States bucking at the idea of returning to economic and social lockdown say they are more prepared and better stockpiled in medical and testing equipment than they were in earlier phases of the pandemic.
At a press conference announcing further lifting of safe-at-home guidelines on Wednesday, Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson attributed higher case numbers to additional testing and not the state’s return to business as usual.
Hutchinson said he was extending the state’s coronavirus emergency order for another 45 days, but that Arkansas was best served by moving the economy forward regardless of “regional” spikes of cases. Additional testing and medical surge capacity would be provided to areas of the state where cases were still increasing, he added.
“We are still in the heart of the woods, we’re not out the woods, Hutchinson said, “when it comes to this health care emergency.”
The Republican governor cited the White House’s “Opening Up America Again” blueprint as the guideline the state is following.
Not all governors are hewing so closely to White House recommendations, especially in relation to police brutality protests.
President Donald Trump told “Radical Left” Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will,” late Wednesday night on Twitter, the Seattle Times reported. The tweet, which has since been deleted, echoed Trump’s threat earlier this month to deploy military forces to states where governors did not shut down local protests.
“These ugly Anarchist must be stooped (sic) IMMEDIATELY,” the president tweeted.
Insee and Durkan immediately responded.
“Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker,” Seattle’s mayor wrote back, referencing the president’s stint underground during protests in D.C.
“A man who is totally incapable of governing should stay out of Washington state’s business. ‘Stoop’ (sic) tweeting,” the governor fired back, mocking a typo in the president’s deleted tweet.