On her program on Tuesday night, Rachel Maddow warned Republican governors in the deep south that if they don’t start taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously, it’s going to overwhelm their states in a hurry.
As the MSNBC host pointed out, governors in Mississippi and Alabama haven’t yet issued stay-at-home orders, despite the fact that major cities in their states, and neighboring ones, are seeing a massive surge in coronavirus cases.
“[Louisiana is] begging the White House for federal assistance,” Maddow pointed out, highlighting the growing crisis in New Orleans.
“That’s Louisiana (led by a Democratic governor). Next door in Mississippi, though, you know, no worries. They’re not China. Whatever’s happening in Birmingham, Alabama, whatever’s happening in New Orleans, I’m sure Mississippi will be fine. They’re not China,” she added, taking a swipe at the Mississippi governor who said his state doesn’t have to worry because it is “never going to be like China.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) March 25, 2020
And so because of that city council, they have a stay-at-home order tonight effective immediately. But statewide, still no order. I’m sure it’ll just stay in Birmingham. Next door in Mississippi, still no statewide order. The governor says we’re not China. Why would we need some sort of statewide stay-at-home order? Everything’s fine. Next door, further west in Louisiana, they think they’ve got the most rapidly growing outbreak in the nation there. I’m sure it’ll stay confined within state borders. I’m sure there’s nobody in Mississippi commuting to work in New Orleans, right? That doesn’t happen, does it? … This is the local paper in New Orleans basically screaming at the top of their lungs about what is already starting to happen in New Orleans … pointing out that of the ten worst hit counties in the United States so far, nine of those ten counties are in the New York metropolitan area. The only one in the top ten that isn’t, the place with the sixth highest rate of cases in the entire country is the great city of New Orleans. … The governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards now saying that he expects Louisiana hospitals to be overrun and to potentially be unable to provide care as soon as the end of next week. There are already 94 people on ventilators in the state of Louisiana. They’ve only got 381 ICU beds in the whole state. They’ve already got 94 ventilators in use. State of Louisiana is now asking for a federal disaster declaration. They believe they have the fastest growing outbreak in the country. There is a statewide stay-at-home order in effect in Louisiana. They are starting to build isolation facilities inside state parks. They are begging the White House for federal assistance. That’s Louisiana. Next door in Mississippi, though, you know, no worries. They’re not China. Whatever’s happening in Birmingham, Alabama, whatever’s happening in New Orleans, I’m sure Mississippi will be fine. They’re not China.
This is why a national approach is so important
The fact that some states are taking this outbreak seriously while others are not is one major reason why a federal approach is necessary. After all, social distancing measures will only be successful if everyone in the country is participating.
Other countries, like the United Kingdom and India, seem to have understood this concept as both countries have issued lockdowns over the past two days.
Meanwhile, the United States is relying on a state-by-state, piecemeal approach. Heck, the president of the United States is even floating the idea of removing restrictions altogether over the next couple of weeks.
This lackluster response from some Republican governors and the federal government will only ensure that this outbreak is much worse and deadlier than it needs to be.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.