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VICTOR JOECKS: Media yawns as delta wave hits blue states

If the national mainstream media wants to blame governors for surging coronavirus cases, there are a number of blue states that deserve its attention.

New Mexico’s hospitals are stretched thin. In late August, state health officials put around 50 people on a waiting list for ICU beds. One hospital is at 120 to 140 percent occupancy. The state doesn’t expect things to improve for weeks.

Oregon had a record number of cases in August. Its seven-day average of new cases a day is around 50 percent greater than its previous peak last December. On Tuesday, it had only 43 adult ICUs beds remaining in the entire state. The ICU manager at a hospital in southern Oregon said that she expects to “ration care” in the near future.

Hawaii used aggressive restrictions, including quarantining tourists, throughout much of the pandemic. It kept cases low, but they’ve been surging for the past few weeks. Its seven-day rolling average of new cases is 3.5 times higher than its previous peak. Gov. David Ige is even telling tourists to stay away for the time being.

Recall how many in the national mainstream media treated red states when their cases shot up this summer.

CNN’s Jim Acosta attacked Republican governors, like Florida’s Ron DeSantis. “Perhaps it’s time to start naming these new variants that may be coming out after them,” he said. “Instead of the delta variant, why not call it the DeSantis variant?”

“Republican governors seem hell-bent on letting COVID spread,” a Vanity Fair headline read.

The decision by DeSantis and other governors to limit mask mandates in schools came under special fire. Keep in mind, DeSantis allows school districts to mandate masks if parents have the ability to opt out their kids.

“DeSantis determined to put kids in danger, fights court mask mandate ruling,” a Rolling Stone headline said.

By this standard, Democrat governors and their policies are responsible for rising cases in their states. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham reimposed an indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals. Even children as young as 2 have to mask up. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown went further and imposed an outdoor mask mandate, even for vaccinated individuals. Hawaii limits indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor get-togethers to 25 people, with some exceptions.

If a governor’s policies are responsible for the spread of the coronavirus, then states must eliminate mask mandates and gathering limits. Of course, many hard-hit Republican states had neither.

This suggests that while gubernatorial action on masks and group sizes may generate controversy, it’s not doing much to stem the virus.

Fortunately, there is a very effective tool available to stop the coronavirus — vaccines.

The unvaccinated account for around 90 percent of Nevada’s coronavirus hospitalizations. That number is even more impressive when you consider that over 86 percent of the most vulnerable group — Nevadans 70 and older — have initiated vaccinations. The vaccinated group is much more vulnerable to the coronavirus because they are older on average. They’re faring better than the far-younger unvaccinated group. That’s powerful evidence vaccines work.

Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb predicted the Northeast and Northern states will see a “delta wave” after Labor Day. It’s more evidence that governors — of either party — can’t stop the coronavirus. It’s coming for the unvaccinated whether they live in Florida, Oregon or Nevada.

Victor Joecks’ column appears in the Opinion section each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.Contact him at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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