Coronavirus

Governor Mills’ coronavirus narrative is crumbling

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Governor Janet Mills’ latest batch of doomsday rhetoric is an admission that her coronavirus narrative is falling apart. In describing SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, as an “evil genie” which is “attacking babies, teenagers, Millennials and seniors alike in every region of Maine and all across the country,” Mills is knowingly stoking panic over a virus for which most of the infected would never know it.

Last week, she issued an executive order requiring all Mainers to cover their faces in all “public settings,” a term her order mentions should be “broadly construed.” There is scant evidence to show that mask mandates will lower incidence of severe cases. There is absolutely zero reason to believe that, regardless of distance to another human, requiring public masking will limit spread. As Dr. Julia Marcus, a Harvard epidemiologist, said of Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker’s similar order, “there’s really no reason to be wearing a mask when you’re outdoors and you’re not close to anyone.”

Turns out, the state doesn’t corner the market on science. The truth is that the governor’s new order is a distortion of science. It was fashioned from whole cloth, not from facts. 

Mainers are now ordered to cover their faces in public to account for the mere possibility of passing another human on their daily walk. This is not hyperbole, even in a state that holds about 43 people per square mile. Maine CDC director Dr. Nirav Shah said as much in his briefing last Friday. In response to the many questions on this new order, Dr. Shah explained that we must now ask ourselves if we could encounter another person in public, not whether we do or not. Put simply, we are no longer adults in Janet Mills’ Maine.

But this latest order is merely a distraction, a frivolous PR stunt to shift our attention away from the disastrous costs of the governor’s first near-total lockdown of society earlier this year. It is meant to highlight the significant, current increase of positive tests. Of course, we should be concerned for those who contract a severe case of COVID-19, and especially those for whom the virus has caused their demise. But we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We cannot ignore the other serious health consequences induced by needless lockdowns.

After all, reporting case numbers, regardless of context or any measure of severity, is useless. Its sole utility is to bludgeon the public into compliance. It is much better for state power brokers if we forget the lessons of Molecular and Cell Biology for Dummies and instead run and hide, ceding our lives to them.

With an entire class of journalists asleep at the wheel, administration officials have gained greater power through arbitrarily changing metrics and goalposts throughout this dreadful saga.

The most egregious shift in objective came in the form of a quickly-forgotten May briefing from DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew to her legislative committee of jurisdiction. She signaled the administration’s newly-altered tack by saying that, “until there is a vaccine or treatment, we will aim to keep case counts low.” This policy shift was noted in an analysis by Maine Policy Institute of the governor’s response from March through July, but interestingly, not covered by any other media outlet.

From that point, Mills’ sycophants in the media fell in line. Total cases would be emphasised. “Confirmed” cases would be gleaned from recorded positive PCR tests and “probable” cases would be found through the futile efforts of contract tracing.

They couldn’t keep up the appearance that the arbitrary orders were built to protect hospital capacity. Medical providers across the nation laid off health care workers because state governors (prompted by the federal CDC), banned so-called “elective” medical procedures. Cancer screenings, dental surgeries, knee replacements and countless other invaluable preventive measures were put off in the interest of promoting the epidemiological equivalent of “duck and cover.”

Maine people have seen the damage this strategy has wrought: friends and family out of work for months, depressed or suffering from delayed medical care. Many writers have dedicated thousands of pages to the untold myriad health issues made worse by government central planning of hospital systems this year. What’s also tragic is that much of the loss of life felt from those decisions will not be reflected in excess mortality statistics, or other traditional methods used to measure health costs.

Governor Mills doesn’t want people to ponder the possibility that up to 90% of COVID-19 positive PCR test results shouldn’t be. As doctor Fauci himself noted in an interview in July, PCR tests that show a positive result after 36 cycles of amplification—also known as the cycle threshold (CT)—would only show “dead nucleotides” and be nowhere near infectious. The diagnostic test that Maine CDC uses to identify “cases” runs up to 45 cycles

The governor doesn’t want people to pay attention to any of these consequences, so she constantly inflates the dangers of the virus to the general public. She deliberately stokes fear and panic to distract from the disaster she has created. It is an abhorrent breach of the people’s trust. Mainers are not ignorant. We see right through the calls of state-sponsored “experts” to avoid not only strangers, but also close friends and family “like the plague.”

Mills had the audacity to say to the people that Maine “welcomed visitors…over the summer and fall,” even though tourists were ordered to show a negative test or quarantine for 14 days before coming to Maine. The mere existence of these rules caused thousands of hotel cancellations and the loss of millions of dollars for Maine’s fragile tourism industry and the many workers who rely on it for survival. As she tries to paint her orders as “guidelines,” we all know what “by executive order” means. Honest-to-goodness guidance doesn’t need to be backed up by the force of law.

The story Mills is painting is getting farther and farther from the truth, and Mainers are waking up.

Not all politicians are guilty of perverting public trust, but for Governor Mills and the many other nanny-state governors who have made up the “science” as they go, it has become their philosophy. Americans must stand up and resist the next attempt at another failed lockdown. We must say “never again.”

About Nick Murray

Nick Murray, of Cornish, currently serves as Policy Analyst with Maine Policy Institute, writing, researching, and bringing Mainers together over the issues facing the state. Previously, he served as Outreach Coordinator, planning events to spread the word about Maine Policy's work to new audiences around Maine.

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