When Can We Recognize JBE’s COVID Management Is A Disaster?

At some point it really can’t be denied, you know. At some point you have to look at the record of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ management of Louisiana’s COVID response, particularly compared to our neighbors, and conclude it’s a mess.

Louisiana’s economy absolutely cratered in 2020, you know. It contracted by 5.5 percent, which is significantly worse than the 3.5 percent national average. And Louisiana’s GDP number was the worst in the South by a significant margin.

So we know Edwards’ shutdowns were a complete disaster from the standpoint of the state’s economy, and they pushed us further into a hole from the standpoint of competing with our neighbors, none of whom lost ground at anywhere near the rate we did.

The numbers released today show that gains in Louisiana’s GDP during the last part of 2020 were not enough to compensate for the pandemic’s effects throughout the earlier parts of the year.

Louisiana’s annualized fourth-quarter GDP was $248 billion, down more than $10 billion from the same quarter in 2019. There was a small increase in production between the third and fourth quarters, as the state saw recovery in the health care and social assistance sector, according to the BEA report.

Louisiana was hit harder than other Southeastern states; real GDP in Mississippi was down 2.8% and Arkansas GRP was down 2.6%. Texas saw a 3.5% drop.

Only a few states saw worse GDP losses than Louisiana: Wyoming (7%), New York (5.9%) and Hawaii (8%).

Did that sacrifice of our economy produce any benefits in terms of public safety?

No. Not compared to Florida, which didn’t shut down and has a population which is older and more vulnerable to COVID-19 than the one here in Louisiana. Louisiana ranks 9th nationally in COVID deaths per capita with 217 per 100,000 people. Florida is 26th with 154 per 100,000 people. And Texas is 23rd with 166 having reopened completely a couple of weeks ago – and there is no spike in fatal COVID cases there even though the Biden administration is inflicting COVID-positive illegal immigrants on Texas.

Yes, Mississippi (235 per 100,000) has a higher incidence of COVID deaths than Louisiana. Alabama, at 215 per 100,000, is just behind us. Other Southern states are all considerably lower.

So you haven’t slowed the spread of the virus with all the lockdowns, and your management of the pandemic trashed the state’s economy such that you almost tanked it as badly as New York tanked its own economy.

Has Edwards at least managed to hold the public’s confidence in his management?

Well, you might find polls showing that. But here’s an indication of what the public really thinks

Nearly four months after coronavirus vaccinations began, Louisiana is seeing fewer people clamoring for the surging supply of shots, and that fall-off in interest is happening far too soon to contain the spread of the virus.

Talk of waiting your turn has ended, replaced with pleas for people to sign up for available vaccine appointments and to urge their family and friends to do the same. Persuading people appears to be harder than public health officials hoped.

Now, Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration, state leaders, faith-based organizations, civic groups and others are embarking on the difficult task of cajoling the uninterested, the worried and the iffy across Louisiana—and connecting those who are interested but have encountered obstacles.

More than 1.1 million people in Louisiana—24% of the state’s total population—have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to state health department data. Nearly 655,000 people have been fully immunized, or about 14%.

That’s far below the threshold that scientists believe would be needed to stop the uncontrolled spread of the COVID-19 disease caused by the coronavirus—a worrisome situation as more virulent and contagious strains of the virus have reached the U.S.

To try to combat the low numbers, Edwards is throwing open access to the shots to everyone age 16 and older, starting today, to end any uncertainty about who might be eligible.

It’s actually a pretty simple fix if he really wants to get all these people to take the vaccine, but he won’t do it. Not with his management style.

If Edwards is serious about giving away those vaccine doses, then throw open the state and lift the mask mandate. Declare we’re going back to normal, right now, and that the state of Louisiana is through telling people how to live their lives.

And if people are worried about getting COVID at this point, then by all means come on in and get your vaccination.

That people don’t want to take the vaccine is a perfect indication that they don’t have any confidence in government’s management of the pandemic. And why should they have any confidence in it? The science behind the lockdowns and the mask mandates has been shaky if not nonexistent. Public health bureaucrats from Washington to Baton Rouge have lied, cooked the numbers and grabbed at as much borrowed Chinese money as possible to prop up the governmental sector while small businesses have burned.

It’s been more than a year of “two weeks to flatten the curve,” and it’s more than obvious the entire project has been a terrible waste of liberty, livelihoods and even life. Our murder and suicide rates are sky-high and our population is less healthy now than a year ago even disregarding COVID – we’re fatter, our management of ordinary health conditions is worse, mental health is in a state of collapse.

And yet nobody in Louisiana’s corporate legacy media will call it out; in fact, the stenographers and propagandists at the state’s newspapers are actually heaping praise on this man because he survived the recall effort. Nobody in the state legislature is willing to take Edwards to task for what he’s done. The people who tried to recall Edwards got very little help from anybody in a position to help them. Essentially none of the state’s judges, with a couple of small exceptions, have been willing to rein in the governor for his rampant violations of civil rights.

The people who could have fought back against him, other than maybe Attorney General Jeff Landry, have done nothing. It’s been an embarrassing, horrific chapter in the state’s history and we have nothing to show for it other than a complete lack of regard for authority – which is actually not a bad thing given the performance of our leaders.

But nobody seems to have the sand to call this out for what it is.

Instead, people just pick up and move to places not run by cretins and clowns. Maybe that’s all anybody can do.

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