These States Are Refusing to Lock Down as COVID Surges
One governor called the prospect "totally and completely beyond reasonableness."
As numbers continue to surge past record-breaking levels in almost every corner of the U.S., many states have been tightening restrictions in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. The scientific community has urged that public health measures such as wearing a face mask can go a long way in bringing outbreaks under control, but some local officials are putting their feet down in terms of their COVID-related policies, as NBC News reports. While some states that previously opposed direct action have changed course—such as Ohio issuing a curfew and Utah issuing a statewide mask mandate—there are a few governors who are staunchly opposed to closures and mandates, and who've said they're not issuing new public health orders. Read on to find out which governors say they aren't locking down, no matter what, and for more on how your state is doing, check out How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.
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Just over a month ago, the Sunshine State made headlines for removing all state-level restrictions on businesses and allowing bars and restaurants to open back up to full capacity. Unfortunately, the reversal of safety measures led to an upward trajectory of coronavirus cases. On Nov. 19, the state reported a seven-day average of 6,748 new daily cases, representing a 54 percent increase over the past two weeks, The New York Times reports. However, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has stood firm on his decision to allow local governments to set public health orders.
"The governor will not lockdown and hurt families who can't afford to shelter in place for six weeks—especially not for a virus that has a 99.8 percent survival rate," a spokesperson for DeSantis told local Miami affiliate CBS12 News. And for more on what the nation's leading immunologist says about the latest surge, check out 4 Places Dr. Fauci Says He Wouldn't Go Right Now.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has been one of the harshest critics against COVID restrictions in the U.S., including everything from curfews to mask mandates. However, as of Nov. 19, the state's seven-day average of new daily cases is 161.1 per 100,000 people, making it the second-worst in the country after neighboring North Dakota.
Still, the figures do not appear to have shaken Noem's resolve. "We already know that lockdowns DON'T stop the spread of the virus," she tweeted on Nov. 12. "However, they destroy small businesses and jobs, and they make it difficult for families to put food on the table." And for more on what top experts think about the next phase of the pandemic, check out This Is Exactly When Dr. Fauci Says We Can "Throw Our Masks Away."
As the first individual state in the nation to hit 1 million reported cases of coronavirus, Texas continues to struggle with outbreaks that have overwhelmed the hospital system in some areas. This includes El Paso, where a county-wide curfew to close non-essential businesses through November was put in place to combat a notoriously deadly surge. However, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton successfully sued to have the order overturned on the grounds that it went beyond the limits set by Gov. Gregg Abbott's executive order that aims to control impact on businesses across the Lone Star State.
"We are not going to have any more lockdowns in the state of Texas," Abbott said in a radio interview. "Our focal point is gonna be working to heal those who have COVID, get them out of hospitals quickly, make sure they get back to their normal lives." And for more regular coronavirus updates, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Amid reports of President-elect Joe Biden issuing a national lockdown when he's in office in January—a concern he's since refuted—Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said his state would not oblige. "We're not going to participate in a nationwide lockdown," Reeves said during a Facebook Live COVID-19 update on Nov. 12, according to The Hill.
Reeves added that the rumored four- to six-week lockdown was "totally and completely beyond reasonableness," saying it would cause Mississippi irreparable financial hardships. "That's not the way the economy works," Reeves said. "We will certainly fight that if necessary." And for the signs that you could already be sick, check out These 4 Easy-To-Miss Symptoms Could Mean You Have COVID, Experts Say.