Earlier this year when the vaccination rate was much higher, the U.S. was on its way to reach herd immunity by Labor Day at the latest. This would have been a tremendous triumph for President Biden and the Democrats in Congress since every Republican had voted against this progress.
Pete Ricketts joined President Biden in hailing this great progress and ended Nebraska’s state of emergency on June 28. Rickett said: “We’ve got to go back to normal life. Nebraska did a great job with this pandemic. ”
Unfortunately, the right wing media and some of the D.C. Republicans weren’t content to let the Democrats preside over a big win in the war against Covid-19 and an economic boom. Instead of celebrating this tremendous progress, they doubled down on their sabotage campaign aimed at prolonging the pandemic to hurt Biden and the country in a cynical attempt to grab power.
The leading Fox News entertainers escalated their anti-vaxxer and anti-mask propaganda. Similarly, AM radio entertainers and a few elected D.C. Republican continued to discourage their followers from getting vaccinated. Some D.C. Republicans made a few perfunctory appeals to their supporters to get vaccinated but then moved on to the other topics.
Meanwhile, the GOP sabotage campaign was escalated in the red states. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott fought tooth and nail against mask and vaccine mandates. Similarly, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem allowed a super spreader motorcycle rally to occur at Sturgis. As a consequence, Covid-19 cases in these states soared out of control, ICUs were jammed with unvaccinated patients and health care workers became burned out.
Unfortunately, Pete Ricketts decided to follow the lead of his fellow red state governors with presidential aspirations. Since his victory lap on June 28, Ricketts has done everything he can to sabotage efforts to limit the spread of this deadly disease. His efforts have been as follows:
Nebraska removed its COVID-19 dashboard on July 2, which once listed detailed data on cases, hospitalizations, deaths, vaccination rates, and more.
Ricketts rejected CDC mask guidelines.
The expiration of an executive order on August 1 now means that Nebraska’s health districts are barred from compiling Covid-19 statistics for counties with less than 20,000 people. That means that 82 of Nebraska’s 93 counties are reporting no public data on things likes the number of Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and vaccinations.
The billionaire governor pledged to block any attempt by President Joe Biden to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Kids will even be allowed to stay in school after corona virus exposure this year.
TestNebraska, ceased operating over a month ago and there are no plans to restart the statewide testing program.
Despite appeals from UNMC and other health care workers, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services confirmed it won’t be bringing back the COVID-19 data dashboard in the foreseeable future.
Ricketts came out in opposition to the Biden Administration’s new rule that nursing homes and long care facilities collecting federal funds can require their employees to be vaccinated.
Nebraska is now recruiting anti-vaxxer nurses to work at our veteran’s homes, long term care facilities for the disabled and prisons. “Spokesman Taylor Gage confirmed that the governor made the choice to pursue nurses opposed to vaccine mandates after the region’s top hospital systems announced the vaccine requirement.”
The State of Nebraska on August 24 rejected a request from Douglas County’s health director who was seeking authority to implement a countywide mask mandate.
The results of Ricketts’ obstruction and sabotage have been disastrous for the state. According to the Omaha World Herald on August 23: “Nebraska’s tally of new COVID-19 cases rose last week for the ninth straight week, fueled by the continued rise of the delta variant. The state tallied 3,755 new cases during the week ending Friday, up from 2,668 the previous week. That 41% increase was the ninth-highest week-over-week increase in the nation, according to a World-Herald analysis of data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. …(W)eekly case counts now are at their highest sustained level since February and have topped counts during the original surge in spring 2020.”
Instead of doing his job, Ricketts has been touring the state lying about President Biden’s policies with a 2024 presidential run in mind. What Ricketts should be doing is traveling around the state to encourage vaccinations. After all, those are his supporters.
Former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson said it best about the GOP MAGA governors who are getting their constituents sick:
“Selling the lives of your fellow citizens to a foreign power is treason. What is the proper description of selling the lives of your fellow citizens to a crazed political interest group?…The problem for the Republican Party is that one of the central demands of a key interest group is now an act of sociopathic insanity. Some of the most basic measures of public health have suddenly become the political equivalent of gun confiscation.”
Ricketts and his allies in the legislature continue to wonder why young people leave the state. Apparently, they believe that young people will stay in Nebraska if their employers and landlords get another tax cut. Perhaps Ricketts and his legislative allies could begin to convince young people to stay by encouraging people to stay healthy, rather than get sick.
The 2022 election cycle will be here before you know it. This election will determine whether the right wing of the GOP will wreck the state with ruinous tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Ricketts will be termed out and we will be electing a new governor. In addition, several Democratic and moderate Republican state senators won’t be running for re-election due to term limits. We have our work cut for us in 2022. Let’s get it done! Let’s leave it all out on the field! We can do this!