UPDATE: See here for the latest.
ORIGINAL: Politically, and all of this COVID-19 stuff has been political from the beginning, remaining in Phase 2 of COVID-19 recovery isn’t really feasible.
Rep. Alan Seabaugh, who we talked to this morning on his way to a meeting of the House Republican Delegation this afternoon to discuss issues surrounding the Legislature’s role in reopening Louisiana, said that he believes the leges will revolt if the Governor doesn’t announce a move to Phase 3.
Edwards’ announcement last week that he was permitting the Saints to play in the Superdome with fans in the stands later this month, which prompted New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell to say she was banning contact sports in Orleans Parish while the state was in Phase 2, was a pretty good indicator that Phase 3 is coming.
But what does Phase 3 mean? That’s the real question.
If Seabaugh is correct, and there is a number out there of House members now willing to sign his petition eliminating Edwards’ emergency declaration which is 53 or larger in the event Edwards keeps Louisiana at Phase 2, then he’s going to have to go to Phase 3.
But what Edwards calls Phase 3 might not really be Phase 3. Are you at Phase 3 if there is still a statewide mask mandate and all the bars remain closed? What about churches?
You could very well see something Edwards calls Phase 3 to appease the legislators and give them something they can interpret as a win while making virtually no changes whatsoever that lessen restrictions on the people of Louisiana.
Because all of this is purely political, you see.
Oh, but Edwards would tell you his actions are all very scientific. And this morning his lickspittles at The Advocate, specifically Chad Calder and the moustachioed cat-blogger and disaster-porn king Jeff Adelson, penned a front-page article assuring Louisianans that despite parish councils in Jefferson and St. Tammany demanding to be allowed to move on from Phase 2, the state isn’t ready.
Because Jefferson and St. Tammany don’t have Phase 3 numbers, say the public health bureaucrats in Washington. And because parishes which are clearly in Phase 3 numbers-wise don’t have closed borders, and so Phase 3 in one place and Phase 2 in another place just means more viral spread in the more permissive place.
They found academic epidemiologists at Tulane and LSU to propound this piffle and lecture that if Louisiana were to open back up the virus will return.
Of course, there is no discussion of herd immunity whatsoever. Nor is there any examination of what the entire point of Edwards’ shutdowns was in the first place: hospital capacity, and whether that would be overwhelmed. The “second wave” of viral spread which supposedly hit Louisiana as a consequence of going to Phase 2 – but absolutely, positively had nothing to do with Antifa/BLM mass street protests in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and other places around the state – didn’t overwhelm the hospitals, nor did the first wave which was worse than the second.
And the shutdowns were supposed to “flatten the curve” so that the hospitals weren’t overwhelmed. There is no danger that will happen, and there is no discussion of the subject anymore. The bait and switch is complete. It went from hospital capacity to the pleasure of the governor and his bureaucratic lackeys over what numbers they could generate.
When Louisiana’s numbers have consistently been worse than our neighbors whose economies are a good bit more open than ours is. And when lockdowns have been a waste of time everywhere they’ve been tried, and when Louisiana has the worst job economy in America.
We won’t predict what Edwards will do. The “science,” at least what of it the Advocate cat-bloggers are willing to discuss on the paper’s front page, would suggest no change, while the politics suggests Edwards might face a choice between Phase 3 or the loss of the emergency altogether.
We know the governor’s office was vigorously opposed to the opening of high school football before that happened last week. But they saw an avalanche coming when the mothers of the athletes began mobilizing against him, and Edwards and his lackeys ran for the hills rather than to take on the moms. When he sees a political loser he does what he can to dodge it.
But he’s never, ever honest with the people of the state. If Edwards does announce a move to Phase 3, we suggest reading the fine print.