When it comes to COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth Government has failed us.
Governor Tom Wolf’s administration has failed us in its first too heavy-handed, then too-light handed, then pass-the-buck, now back to a too heavy-handed containment strategy.
The Republican State-led Legislature has also failed us with no true alternative to anything that the Wolf-administration has done, instead, fighting a battle they surely had to know they were going to lose with bill after bill after bill that had zero chance of ever being passed.
And that brings us to where we are now.
Cases are spiraling upwards. Schools are closing. Family gatherings are being told they shouldn’t happen.
And now Governor Wolf, Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, and the rest of the administration is scrambling to find new ways to slow this wave of coronavirus while the Republican-led Legislature continues to offer no alternative solutions other than things should just go back to the way they were pre-pandemic.
Perhaps if either the Administration or the Legislature had taken more proactive measures earlier, we wouldn’t be scrambling now.
For the Wolf Administration, a more coherent, better explained and less-panic driven approach starting as far back as March would probably have meant significantly more support from the citizenry.
This means don’t continue to issue orders and mandates that are so full of logical fallacies that they require repeated updates and clarification to get the point across.
And it’s unfathomable to us that an administration would be either too incompetent, too lazy or too arrogant to avoid repetitive mistakes when trying to combat this virus.
Case in point, when the new gathering limits were announced Monday, ostensibly to help keep people safe, it was quickly pointed out that the sliding scale math didn’t add up. For example, an outdoor facility that holds up to 10,000 people may have up to 10 percent capacity, or 1,000 people, for an event. A facility that can hold more than 10,000 may only have five percent capacity, up to 2,500 people. So a 10,000 seat stadium can have 1,000 people for an event, but a 15,000 seat stadium can only have 750.
Does this in any way make sense? No. And it didn’t make sense when it was implemented the first time in September either. The fact that no one within the administration thought to not make this mistake again is particularly concerning.
And let’s not forget that churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and other places of worship are exempt from the gathering restrictions.
So according to the Wolf Administration, it’s somehow safer for an unlimited number of people to gather indoors as long as it’s in a place of worship than it is outdoors where groups must be limited.
Apparently, COVID-19 is only a problem if people gather to have a beer, workout or watch an event or concert.
This is just the latest in a trend of puzzling decisions from this administration, all of which have continued to erode people’s trust in government.
For the last six months, Wolf has consistently passed the buck, essentially putting the spread of the virus on individuals and their choices. Hardly an effective way to slow a pandemic. So is it no wonder then, that when he suddenly wants to implement more stringent government oversight, people are skeptical?
It also doesn’t help that Republicans in the State Legislature have taken the complete opposite approach of the Wolf administration. They, too, could have stepped to the forefront sometime over the last eight months to offer solutions to what was an obvious worldwide pandemic. But, instead, they chose to put forth bill after bill after bill that they knew had zero chance of being signed by the Governor and zero chance of a veto being overturned by the legislature. Bills that didn’t actually tackle the problem that the pandemic presented but bills that, instead, ignored that a pandemic was even going on.
What ended up happening was the Wolf administration didn’t bring the Republican-led Legislature in from the start and then the Republican-led Legislature, acting like a kid whose ball had been taken away from it, decided that if the Wolf Administration wasn’t going to work with it, it wasn’t going to try to work with Wolf Administration. This is a recipe for disaster, and we now have a disaster, if not upon us, soon to be upon us.
Being in an authority position during a global pandemic is no easy task, but this is part of what they signed up for when running for or accepting an appointment to their current office. We don’t think it’s too much to ask for the people in those positions to accept the mantle of responsibility instead of consistently passing the buck to lower levels of government or not taking any responsibility at all.
“It seems like they’re passing off the responsibility for controlling the outbreak to individuals and individual choices,” Ellie Murray, an epidemiologist at Boston University, recently told the New York Times. “A pandemic is more a failure of the system than the failure of individual choices.”
We couldn’t agree more.
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