Five Republican governors crafted an op-ed in the Washington Post Tuesday, singing their own praises for their COVID-19 response without shutting down their government. The problem, however, is that four out of the five governors are in states that are suffering among the highest per capita coronavirus cases in the country.
Govs. Mark Gordon (R-WY), Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Asa Hutchinson (R-AR), Kim Reynolds (R-IA) and Mike Parson (R-MO) announced in the column that while they have different approaches, all of their states have been “open for business,” delivering food and other goods.
“Our collective experience ensures that our contribution toward reopening our nation’s economy is stable, safe and durable. Restarting our economy is not a race to be won but a cooperative effort. Our approach has created a model for success that can be applied throughout the country,” the editorial says.
As Huffington Post editor Kate Sheppard pointed out, low coronavirus cases in a state doesn’t exactly stand up when one considers the population of the state.
WaPo should be embarrassed to run this without noting at the top that 4 out of 5 of the metro regions with the highest per-capita new cases are in these governors' states. https://t.co/rBHoh44ZR4
— Kate Sheppard (@kate_sheppard) May 5, 2020
Missouri is the 23rd lowest state in terms of population density, but it’s the 24th highest in terms of positive test rates.
Using the data chart from Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, these Republican states appear to be worse off than some of the most populated counties in the United States.
Wyoming has 101 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. Arkansas has 114 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. Missouri has 140 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. Iowa has 291 confirmed cases per 100,000 people. Nebraska has 293 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents
To put that in context, Los Angeles County, California has 84 per 100,000 people, meaning LA is doing better than all of the GOP states. Similarly, the blue state of Oregon has just 64 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. Montana, run by a Democratic governor, has just 43 confirmed cases per 100,000 people, for the lowest rate in the country. Maine is also run by a Democratic governor, and the state has 88 confirmed cases per 100,000 people. Hawaii has just 44 confirmed cases per 100,000. All of the Democratic states issued their own stay-at-home orders.