Here's why I've spent so much time on the "red vs. blue" spread of #COVID19
Regular readers may wonder why I've spent so much time obsessively tracking not just the spread of COVID-19 (as numerous sources have been doing) but specifically the partisan spread of it between so-called "red" vs. "blue" states and even red vs. blue counties.
I've obviously never been shy about sharing my political leanings on this website, but a public health crisis shouldn't be a partisan issue, right?
That's correct: It shouldn't be. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has decided to make it a partisan issue at every stage of the crisis, and with few exceptions, the rest of the GOP has embraced this at the federal, state and even local levels.
As a result, public health POLICY is being directly influenced and in many cases flat-out mandated by PARTISANSHIP.
In the earlier stages of the pandemic hitting the United States, this could be seen in cases like favoratism being shown in which states the federal government was sending PPE (personal protection equipment) to and which states were being given zilch (or, in some cases, broken ventilators and moldy N-95 masks).
More recently, this hyper-tribalism has devolved further yet, to the point that "standing 6 feet apart" and "wearing a mask when out in public" have become a flashpoint...and it's bleeding over from politicians into private companies.
AMC Theater CEO Adam Aron says their cinemas won't require masks upon reopening because they didn't "want to be drawn into a political controversy" https://t.co/zNjy9wzGMK
— Variety (@Variety) June 18, 2020
Parker Molloy nailed it:
Opening night at AMC:
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) June 19, 2020
Requiring people wear masks when going to a indoor public place where they're expected to sit in close proximity inside a room with 200-300 other people with recirculated air in the middle of a highly contagious pandemic is NOT "a political controversy". People are required to wear shirts and shoes when going to a restaurant, and you don't hear anyone screaming about their liberties being infringed..and that's without a pandemic which has already killed 120,000 Americans and infected over 2.2 million more. Hell, there was a whole scene about this in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
And yet, because the President of the United States and his administration decided to make "wearing a mask" into a litmus test about whether you were With Him or Against Him, here we are:
Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt on why he doesn't support mandating masks at the Trump rally in Tulsa: "We are going to follow the president and the vice president's lead on that ... my question back to all the folks that say you shouldn't have a rally -- when is the right time?" pic.twitter.com/DzbcjMD4A0
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 19, 2020
So yeah, you can expect to see me continue to track the "red county/blue county" coronavirus trendlines over the summer and into the fall...because as insane as it may be, it's become a political and cultural flashpoint which will continue to impact public health policy and the November election itself whether we like it or not...and there's no going back now.