(CNN)As coronavirus cases spike in Florida and Texas this week, the state’s Republican governors attributed the alarming tendencies to elevated testing, outbreaks in high-risk areas like jails and assisted residing amenities, or in Florida’s case, migrant employee communities. They’ve additionally brushed away pleas from native officers for stronger necessities to put on masks.
The reasons echo the Trump administration’s present positioning on the state of Covid-19 in America: denial and excuses.
At a time when Floridians proceed to pack bars and eating places, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis brushed away questions on his culpability in aggressively reopening his state throughout a press convention this week. In remarks layered with racial overtones, he blamed the surge in circumstances, partly, on crowded residing circumstances in migrant households. He stated the state would additionally take a better take a look at the unfold of the virus amongst building employees and day laborers, who he stated are “overwhelmingly Hispanic.”
Pointing to at least one outbreak at a watermelon farm in Alachua County and one other in a migrant neighborhood often called Indiantown in Martin County, DeSantis argued that “the shut contact” in these households in addition to the work environments of farm laborers are “actually offering areas for the virus to thrive.”
“A few of these guys — they go to work in a faculty bus, and they’re all similar to packed there like sardines, going throughout like Palm Seaside County or a few of these different locations, and (there’s) all these alternatives to have transmission,” DeSantis stated Tuesday, including that a few of the employees are “migratory” and that the state’s well being division is alerting Georgia and Alabama about “what could also be coming down the pike.”
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott continues to insist there isn’t any purpose for alarm as a result of the state’s hospital mattress capability is dramatically higher than it was earlier this yr when the pandemic first hit.
Abbott, who wore a masks to his press convention and took it off whereas talking, has rebuffed a request from 9 metropolis mayors that might enable them to require masks of their cities. He says native officers needs to be utilizing different instruments at their disposal — like fining rule-breakers for large gatherings. The Texas governor additionally stated the rise in circumstances this week was resulting from a batch of optimistic exams that each one got here in on June 10 from Texas prisons and an information error in rural Pecos County.
“As we proceed the method of opening up Texas — as we proceed to have Texans return to their jobs, in order that they’re able to earn a paycheck that can assist them pay their payments and put meals on their tables,” Abbott stated, “…we stay laser targeted on sustaining considerable hospital capability.”
Each DeSantis and Abbott have argued they at all times anticipated case numbers to rise when testing elevated, statements that immediately contradict the assertions by epidemiologists that case numbers ought to go down with larger testing, as a result of theoretically well being officers ought to be capable to hint the circumstances and gradual the unfold of the virus.
President Donald Trump has set the tone for these Republican governors from the highest, intently specializing in making certain that the financial system recovers because the November election looms.
Trump described the virus as “fading away” throughout an interview this week as he prepares to host a marketing campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday that would pack 1000’s of individuals into enviornment with no requirement for individuals to put on masks.
Vice President Mike Pence urged governors throughout a name this week to focus on ramped up testing of their states as a purpose coronavirus circumstances are rising. Pence, who heads the administration’s coronavirus job drive, declared on Thursday in Michigan that the nation has confirmed “that we are able to safely reopen America.”
“Each single day we’re someday nearer to placing the coronavirus prior to now,” Pence stated throughout remarks at a Michigan metal plant Thursday. “We slowed the unfold. We flattened the curve. We cared for essentially the most weak, and we saved lives.”
These claims by Trump and Pence, nonetheless, are usually not supported by the facts. Twenty-three states noticed an increase in new circumstances between June 10 and 17, in keeping with a CNN evaluation of information from John Hopkins College.
Florida and Texas are two of the 10 states experiencing record-high seven-day averages of latest coronavirus circumstances, in keeping with the evaluation.
Florida officers are pointing to an “aggressive testing” technique of their state, the place DeSantis famous that well being officers have made testing obtainable to each resident of a long-term care facility in addition to to the workers who work there.
Florida, which allowed sure companies to reopen on Might 4, introduced its highest single-day count Thursday because the pandemic started, in keeping with knowledge launched by the Florida Division of Well being. The share of individuals testing optimistic hit a brand new peak of 10.18% on Tuesday, earlier than falling to 9% on Wednesday, in keeping with the brand new data from the state well being division.
“Definitely as we reopened, we did count on to see a rise — however not like this,” St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman stated throughout an interview on CNN’s “At this Hour” Thursday. (The variety of circumstances reported every day in Pinellas County, the place St. Petersburg is situated, has risen dramatically since early June).
“There are every kind of alarm bells which are going off for me,” stated Kriseman, a Democrat. “I am not comfy with what I see taking place in my neighborhood,” he stated, explaining his choice to require enterprise workers to put on masks if they arrive face-to-face with prospects starting on Friday. “I feel you are going to see mayors throughout the state of Florida which are going to take actions in response to those numbers as a result of we’re simply not seeing that from our management in Tallahassee.”
However DeSantis this week rejected the notion that reopening Florida companies led to the report numbers of circumstances, and stated he didn’t suppose a requirement to put on masks is important. Eating places, he famous, have been open for shut to 6 weeks in some areas: “The concept that rapidly is the explanation (for the rise), I am unsure that is the case.”
“So no, we’re not shutting down, we’ll go ahead,” DeSantis stated. “We will proceed to guard essentially the most weak. We will urge, proceed to advise, notably our aged inhabitants to take care of social distancing, keep away from crowds.”
The Florida governor famous that from the start of the outbreak, he has really useful folks put on masks if they’re face-to-face with one other particular person, or cannot socially distance. However, he stated: “You do not must be sporting it if you’re going for a jog otherwise you’re on the seaside. And so, some of these things can get out of hand. I need to be cheap about it.”
DeSantis famous that the state has “6,400 ventilators which are simply sitting idle.”
Abbott has targeted on Texas’s skill to deal with new circumstances as hospitalizations reached a brand new report this week with 2,947 coronavirus sufferers — practically doubling since Memorial Day (when 1,534 hospitalizations have been reported), in keeping with the Texas Division of State Well being Companies dashboard.
Of their letter to Abbott, a gaggle of mayors argued that requiring Texans to put on face coverings “may show to be the best method to stop the transmission of this illness.”
“But many individuals in a lot of our cities are nonetheless refusing to put on these face coverings regardless that these coverings are scientifically confirmed to assist stop the illness from spreading,” the mayors wrote of their letter Tuesday. “If mayors are given the chance to require face coverings, we imagine our cities might be prepared to assist scale back the unfold of this illness.” The mayors of Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Fort Price, El Paso, Arlington, Plano and Grand Prairie — a mixture of Republicans, Democrats and Independents — signed on to the letter.
However the governor contends native officers asking for extra authority haven’t imposed penalties and enforcement mechanisms at the moment obtainable to them if Texans break the foundations by collaborating in massive gatherings, for instance.
“I clarify every day across the whole state of Texas that sporting a masks is essential, and native officers ship that very same message,” Abbott stated this week. “So all of us have a collective duty to coach the general public that sporting a masks is one of the best factor to do. Placing folks in jail, nonetheless, is the flawed method.”