The lack of concern over public welfare exhibited by some Republican governors has been the biggest scandal of the Covid-19 pandemic that hasn’t originated in the Donald Trump White House.
From Georgia Governor Brian Kemp suing Atlanta’s mayor to prevent her from implementing a mandatory mask ordinance to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his obstructionist mismanagement of the worst outbreak in the nation, Trump acolytes in statehouses across the country are responsible for some of the worst offenses against science, public safety, and common sense that have caused the coronavirus to become America’s unwanted houseguest, one that continues to stay — uninvited — long past the point of forbearance.
Now, Missouri Republican Governor Mike Parson is facing controversy over remarks he made in a radio interview on Friday that expressed either a total lack of scientific and medical knowledge, a casual disregard for the health of his state’s school-age children, or both.
In an interview with St. Louis talk radio station KFTK, Parson acknowledged that reopening the state’s schools in the fall would likely lead to even more COVID-19 infections among children — and many adults with whom the children come into close contact — but that the governor is OK with that.
“These kids have got to get back to school,” Parson said. “They’re at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will — and they will when they go to school — they’re not going to the hospitals. They’re not going to have to sit in doctor’s offices. They’re going to go home and they’re going to get over it.”
“We gotta move on,” he said. “We can’t just let this thing stop us in our tracks.”
While children do typically have less severe symptoms than adults, they are equally adept as adults at shedding their virus load and infecting others who may not have immune systems as resilient as theirs and can become major superspreaders in their homes, infecting more vulnerable parents and grandparents as well as their teachers and other school staff.
Dr. Alex Garza, incident commander of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, pointed out the perils involved in reopening schools in Missouri — which hit a new record for the increased number of cases yesterday — and any other state not meeting the published CDC guidelines.
“We worry about those in school who are not children — teachers, support staff and volunteers. Many of those people will have a much more serious response to the virus and that is what we want to avoid. These children could also come home and spread the virus to others in their household who could also be at a greater risk of a serious outcome.”
State Auditor Nicole Galloway, Parson’s Democratic challenger for the governorship, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that her rival’s comments demonstrated “stunning ignorance … on how COVID-19 affects children. He admitted that he’s okay with your kids (and your families) getting the deadly disease when he sends them back to school. Does he not realize multiple American kids have died after being infected?”
In addition to his ignorant and compassionless proclamations on the coronavirus, Parson also indicated that he would probably grant a pardon to the St. Louis couple who pointed guns at protesters who marched by their mansion during a BLM protest last month if they were prosecuted and convicted of a crime.
Parson cited the Castle Doctrine, which gives homeowners more leeway to shoot people on their property, as his rationale for the prospective pardon.
Hopefully, the Trumpian rhetoric that Paron spouts and his subsequent destructive decision making will convince Missourians that he is as fit for the statehouse as Trump is for the White House. In other words, vote this man who cares naught for your health and safety out of office as soon as possible.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.