Instead of “we’re all in this together” to fight the ravaging war against the coronavirus in Indiana, according to Governor Holcomb, we are now in the “you’re on your own” stage. Mere hope is the mightiest weapon in his quiver to fight this invisible, lethal and fast-spreading disease.
While the five surrounding states with similar or better metrics than Indiana continue their stay-at-home orders, Governor Holcomb lifted this true weapon against the coronavirus. Based on what data? The tangential “guiding principles” (or strawmen) of availability of hospital beds, availability of ventilators, testing and tracing? We in Indiana are hereby retreating from the fight against the coronavirus. With Colonel Custer in charge, we are surely ready for the second onslaught though!
In our own backyard at Notre Dame, real experts on the data stated:
“Our results indicate that control measures that are in place right now may need to be maintained at a fairly high level until the summer if we want to lower transmission,” said Alex Perkins, Eck Family Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, an expert in infectious disease epidemiology and population biology and the lead of the study. “At that point, we may be able to dial back those protective measures somewhat, but we will not be able to relax them completely until we have a vaccine.” Those protective measures, Perkins added, need to include increased testing, contact tracing, and case isolation, in addition to social distancing.
Our leader ignores this data-driven advice, even making masks and facial coverings optional. It’s absurd!
We now have a five-stage tangled web of differing and undefined “capacities” that are all voluntary and admittedly unenforceable. These stages will quickly become “it’s all optional anyway!” It is ironic that the Governor’s last words at his press conference were “better safe than sorry….” We are likely not safe and will be sorry, but we will have tried our best to prove that the science of a lethal virus is immune from political spin.
As to the citizens, who fear for their lives at a workplace that now opens up with no one wearing masks or practicing social distancing, and who choose to resign instead of risk their lives: Beware! The Governor and the director of Unemployment Compensation have already stated that “generalized fear” of the Coronavirus will not get you unemployment compensation. So there it is! What evidence of danger is there during a raging pandemic other than “generalized fear”? That’s the entire point.
But not in Indiana where we will ignore and deny the most prescient and real evidence there is to force Hoosiers back to work amidst their fear and anxiety. They must now choose between their livelihood or their life! We hope for the best for them, says Governor Abdication, while Hoosiers go through the wrenching anxiety and fear of making this daily choice of “heads I win, tails you lose” all in the name of getting Indiana “back on track.” Then again, we may have to go in reverse gear and the suffering from the disease and deaths will be in vain.
Abraham Lincoln surely rolled over two or three times when Eric Holcomb invoked the Gettysburg Address to support lifting the stay-at-home order to the retreat of “let’s hope and pray but not fight.” The point of the Gettysburg Address was that the Union army would fight on, so the gruesome deaths at Gettysburg would not be in vain. The point by Holcomb was lost in the labyrinth of stages that amounted to a retreat of “let’s hope this all works out.”
We must solve the coronavirus first before there is any track for Indiana to get on. We are putting the track down without a train if we just hope for the coronavirus to go away when we retreat from the fight. Lincoln knew best by using Gettysburg to spur on a greater fight! Holcomb is using our Gettysburg moment to retreat. This is nothing less than a complete abdication of his responsibility as the Governor.