When Will COVID Catch Up With Public Officials Who Have Enabled It?

The oldest member in the Senate (Chuck Grassley- R-IA) and the oldest member of the House (Don Young- R-AK), each 87 years old have both been infected with COVID. Young is in the hospital and said to be in bad shape. Grassley's team claims he's fine and that there are no problems. The problem is his state, third worst hit in the country. Yesterday, Iowa reported 3,039 more cases, bringing the state's total to 191,437-- 60,676 cases per million Iowans. Like the Dakotas, the only two worse-stricken states, Iowa's hospitals are under severe strain and on the verge of being overwhelmed. And like South Dakota, Iowa is cursed with a crackpot governor with a taste for mass murder. Kim Reynolds doesn't believe in masks or social distancing and has continuously refused to issue a statewide mandate.

I'm sure this is just a coincidence but think about this. There are 53 Republican Senator. 5 have tested positive and 15 have quarantined. 37.7% of the Senate Republicans have been touched by the hand of COVID. There are 47 Democrats and just one tested positive (Tim Kaine) and just one was quarantined (Veep-elect Kamala)-- so just 4.2% of the Democratic caucus. On Monday, after Sherrod Brown (R-OH) asked presiding officer Dan Sullivan (R-AK) to wear a mask in the chamber, Sullivan flipped out and Ted Cruz butted in to called Brown a "complete ass."

Sullivan: "Some of these far-left senators like Senator Brown just can't help themselves on their desire to want to lecture people on these kinds of issues, whether it's lecturing other US senators or lecturing working families, and I think it's a put-off. People recognize the challenges-- we're going to get through these challenges-- but to be lectured or preached to by senior officials is something that I think is not, not, I certainly didn't appreciate."

Cruz, like Trump, speaks through his nasty and misleading Twitter page. Afterwards, Brown tried to explain his interest in persuading Republicans to make up, is because Senate workers-- like the ones right below Sullivan's podium-- have no say in whether or not they can be in Sullivan's line of maskless fire. "I asked my Republican colleagues," said Brown, "to stop endangering all the Senate workers-- and simply wear a mask when presiding over the Senate... [T]here clearly isn't much interest in this body in public health."

The hand dozen states with the highest caseload per-capita have all flaunted public health officials' pleas for masks and social distancing since March. Avoid these founts of contagion, as though your life depends on it-- because it does:

  • North Dakota- 86,564 cases per million residents

  • South Dakota- 76,056 cases per million residents

  • Iowa- 60,676 cases per million residents

  • Wisconsin- 55,621 cases per million residents

  • Nebraska- 52,523 cases per million residents

  • Utah- 49,582 cases per million residents

Three fanatic anti-mask governors from Trumpistan (North Dakota, Iowa and Utah) have seen so much devastation in their states that after refusing mask mandates since last March, they finally implemented them in the last week. But not Florida crackout Ron DeSantis. Even as new coronavirus cases have surged to an all-time high at nursing homes across the country, DeSantis loosened restrictions on visits to nursing homes, saying higher risk of infection is outweighed by positive mental health benefits of increased social interaction. Florida has no mask mandate. Yesterday the state reported 7,459 new cases, bringing the state total to 897,323 (41,779 cases per million residents).

Although fewer than 1% of U.S. residents live in nursing homes, these facilities account for 40% of the nation's COVID-19 deaths. As of Tuesday, more than 94,000 Americans have died at long-term care facilities. Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of AHCA/NCAL: "We have been begging people the last eight months to wear a mask, socially distance and to be careful. Unfortunately, the public has not listened or complied."

Last night, USA Today reported that "Nurses and other employees who live in communities where the virus is circulating are most likely the source of these infections. Despite testing staff members twice a week in communities where cases are widespread, the virus might not be detected."