An arms race of sorts has emerged between red states and blue states to reopen America, with Democrat and Republican governors developing rivaling plans to lead their states out of the darkness of the coronavirus crisis while the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force and President Donald Trump’s ultimate decision looms large over the country.
Hundreds of millions of Americans are under some variation of stay-at-home orders in every state in the union, with all 50 states also having active disaster declarations—the first time such a crisis has ever swept the nation in her nearly 250-year history.
The president has called the decision to reopen America for business the biggest he will ever make in his presidency, and his life, and is expected to roll out a new task force from the White House on Tuesday to detail his plans and lead the effort from Washington. The president has also said it is his decision—and his alone—to make, arguing Monday that he has the authority as the nation’s commander-in-chief to override any governors or local officials nationwide who may get in his way.
That being said, while some Democrat governors have expressed unease with moving too quickly—in other words, they want to go on their own timetable, not Trump’s—there is an emerging competition between various governors nationwide to see who can get there first safely for the people of their state.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, is eyeing a plan rollout as early as this week to begin opening parts of his state back up for commerce. During an interview on Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News on Monday evening, Abbott reiterated the need to get Texas back to work as early as this week—and definitely ahead of the previous schedule of May 1.
“We want to open. Texans love to work. Texans are dying to get back to work,” Abbott said during the Hannity interview. “We want them to get back to work, but we have to do so in a very safe way so that we don’t regenerate the spread of the coronavirus in the state of Texas. But we’re working on strategis as we speak with medical experts and business leaders to find the right strategy so we can unleash our economy.”
He added that he believes Texas—and many other states—can reopen well before May 1.
“I think most states can reopen even sooner than later. We don’t have to wait until May 1,” Abbott said.
The White House, sources familiar with the matter told Breitbart News, has a list of approximately 20 states they intend to begin the reopening process in as soon as potentially later this week but definitely before the end of April. The virus, public health and federal officials admit, has not lived up to the dire predictions that doomsday models had originally forecast. The vaunted Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model from the University of Washington has been notoriously wrong, predicting first anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 dead Americans, then dropping that several times in subsequent weeks down to 93,000, then 81,000, then down to 61,000.
The IHME model, which is what the White House used to extend the original “15 days to slow the spread” out from ending at the end of March all the way until now April 30, has also been even more incorrect when it comes to hospitalization numbers. In fact, a little-noticed revision to the model—one of many that the organization has made in the past several weeks—announced that the United States has already passed the proverbial “peak” of the curve of the virus days ago when it comes to hospitalizations and now the modelers admit the virus is in retreat.
1/ Yes, the geniuses at @IHME_UW have updated their model again. According to them, we are now PAST the peak of hospitalizations – which were cut yet again, to 57,000 beds from 94,000 in the previous forecast (and 262,000 in the April 1 forecast – April Fool’s!)… pic.twitter.com/sCioDU9gtG
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) April 13, 2020
Part of the reason why U.S. officials at the federal, state, and local level relied on these now demonstrably flawed models to make their public policy decisions is because they had no real-world data on the threat of the quickly-spreading disease. Chinese Communist officials in Beijing lied to the world—including the World Health Organization (WHO), which dutifully reprinted the inaccurate information the communists provided about the disease’s spread—and then Europe was rocked quickly by it as the virus took a major toll on Italy then Spain then France and the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, the coronavirus scared the public as celebrities like Tom Hanks and several NBA stars were infected early, and lawmakers like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as well as Reps. Ben McAdams (D-UT) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) were all infected. Each of those U.S. lawmakers has since recovered, but their infections combined with the infection of U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson—who was admitted to the ICU in a British hospital for treatment as his condition worsened, something he has since bounced back from as he continues his recovery outside the hospital—gripped American leaders with fear that even they were not invincible to the threat of the coronavirus.
Despite all the high-profile cases, and what appeared to be a nasty perfect storm heading into April where U.S. hospitals would have been overrun and not enough ventilators would be available to treat the public as the virus spread, the models and projections have not come to pass. The models have been so badly inaccurate, in fact, that even Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said during an appearance on Breitbart News Daily on SiriusXM 125 the Patriot Channel on Monday morning that the White House team is no longer using them—but instead making decisions on real world data.
“It’s important to know that models are projections when you don’t have data,” Adams said. “Our original models were people’s best guesses, and/or they were informed by experiences in very different cultures and very different places. What the American people need to know now is we actually have data and we’re tracking that data and we’re not as reliant on these models as we are as say ‘this is what’s happening in California, this is what’s happening in New York, this is what’s happening in New Orleans.’ We’re following that data every single day and we’re giving that data to the community so they can make intelligent and informed decisions about when and where to reopen. It’s not going to be light-switch—just like it wasn’t a light-switch going off, it’s not going to be a light-switch going back on. Different communities will reopen sooner than other communities and they’ll have to do so based on their testing data—not a model, but actual data—and their capacity to be able to follow up on cases and isolate them. I feel confident that some places will start to reopen in May, June—other places won’t—it will be piece by piece, bit by bit, but it will be data-driven.”
On that note, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo—a Democrat—said on Monday that his state has contained the virus, a huge win for the country as New York has represented the American epicenter of the disease.
“We can control the spread. Feel good about that,” Cuomo said early on Monday, also adding, “because, by the way, we could have got to a point when we said we can’t control this damn thing.”
“The worst is over,” Cuomo also said.
After announcing those breakthroughs against the virus in New York, Cuomo then led a conference call with several Democrat governors from neighboring and nearby states like New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and others to discuss reopening the country. That effort came as the governors of Washington state, Oregon, and California each announced a pact between those western states to discuss reopening the country.
This very interesting analysis came in just as the three Democratic governors of CA, OR, and WA announced a pact to reopen WITHOUT an explicit goal of no infections or deaths. (A long way from no @nfl season, as @CAgovernor said just days ago.) https://t.co/IBcM25I946 pic.twitter.com/5Nqw5yy29D
— Alex Berenson (@AlexBerenson) April 13, 2020
Several other GOP governors in a number of states in addition to Texas are looking at reopening before May 1, too, Breitbart News has learned, though much remains in flux and depends on data that keeps rolling in this week. What these efforts by the White House and by these various governors—Republican and Democrat from all different parts of the country—could end up forcing, however, is essentially an arms race to reopen America.
“Whoever figures it out first, good on them,” a former Trump White House official told Breitbart News. “They should be competing over who can safely open back up for business first and then instill confidence in their neighbors around the country, all while President Trump keeps edging the country back from the brink. if Texas leads the way or California does, it really doesn’t matter. We need to get the country back in business.”