Quantcast
Connect with us

The American South has resisted social distancing measures — and we’re all going to pay the price

Published

on

As you can see from the New York Times’ examination of travel patterns in the United States, there has been a wide and largely regional disparity across the country in terms of who was quick to self-isolate and who wasn’t. Most of New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the Upper Midwest, and the West Coast had issued stay-at-home orders by March 27. Other states that were proactive include New Mexico, Colorado, Idaho, and Louisiana. The urban areas in Texas tried to be proactive even as their state government opposed them. The South, as a whole, did not instruct people to stay at home and the result is that their travel patterns remained normal, or close to normal.

ADVERTISEMENT

This is going to matter later.

The inconsistencies in policies—and in when they are imposed—may create new problems, even for places that set limits weeks ago.

“Let’s assume that we flatten the curve, that we push transmission down in the Bay Area and we walk away with 1 percent immunity,” said Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco. “Then, people visit from regions that have not sheltered in place, and we have another run of cases. This is going to happen.”

There’s a tradeoff to self-quarantining. People don’t get infected with COVID-19, so people don’t survive the infection and get immunity. The isolated communities are nearly as vulnerable to a new outbreak as they were before all this began. It’s worth doing anyway for a variety of reasons, including that it limits how many people are flooding our unprepared and undersupplied hospitals, and that it buys time for researchers to find effective treatments and develop a vaccine.  Hopefully, getting COVID-19 in the fall or winter will be more survivable than getting it now.

But areas that were slow or still refuse to isolate and limit travel have spiked their own infection rates and spread the virus far and wide. They’ll have a higher level of immunity but that’s not going to be helpful to the rest of the country.

Looking at the charts, there seems to be more going on than just whether or not a given state government asked people to shelter in place. Outside of the South, people seem to have complied with this even in the absence of official guidance. Meanwhile, with the exception of parts of Louisiana and South Florida, the states of the former Confederacy all look the same regardless of what their governors set as policy. Something cultural explains why Southerners didn’t heed the advice they were hearing in the media, and it’s not just support for Trump. He has plenty of support in the prairies states and Mountain West, and they did significantly reduce their travel. The pattern is visible even in a blue state like Virginia and a purple one like North Carolina, both of which have Democratic governors.

Whether religiosity explains it, or a probably related skepticism toward scientific expert advice, or maybe something to do with their car culture, I don’t know. But their slowness to respond to this outbreak has undermined the effectiveness of the efforts of the areas that did respond. And, because of the nature of this disease, we’re all going to be paying for that for the foreseeable future.

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

‘We need a reality check here’: CNN’s Bash cuts off Kudlow’s rambling spin on Trump’s unemployment plans

Published

on

An alternately amused and baffled Dana Bash was forced to cut off Donald Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow on CNN Sunday morning as he attempted to spin the president's plans to help out the unemployed with income supplements, changing his numbers from $400 to $800 to $1,200 all within three to four sentences.

Pressed about the president's executive order calling for a $400 supplement -- with $100 coming from the states at Trump's demand -- the State of the Union fill-in host tried to cut through Kudlow's veering from dollar amount to dollar amount to get a clearer understanding of what the president is proposing.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Nancy Pelosi owns Chris Wallace: ‘Clearly you don’t have an understanding of what is happening here’

Published

on

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) faced off against Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday over the failure to negotiate a COVID-19 financial relief bill.

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Wallace suggested that there is an upside to executive actions taken by President Donald Trump in lieu of a financial relief bill because some people will get protections from evictions "rather than getting nothing at all."

For her part, Pelosi quoted a Republican senator who said that the president's executive action is "constitutional slop."

"While he says he's going to have a moratorium on evictions, he's going to ask the folks in charge to study if that's feasible," Pelosi explained before noting that the president's payroll tax holiday serves to "undermine Social Security and Medicare."

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

‘An utter disgrace’: Steve Schmidt slams Trump for his ‘slurring’ self-pitying Bedminster performance

Published

on

Republican campaign consultant -- and ardent never-Trumper -- Steve Schmidt did not think much of Donald Trump's second press conference at his Bedminster golf course on Saturday, stating the president's "slurring" performance loaded down with self-pity was an "utter f*cking disgrace."

Following the president's signing of four executive orders before adoring members of his country club, Schmidt went off on a tweetstorm, ending with calling the president "the greatest failure in American History."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image