Coronavirus is surging in Maine, and Governor Janet Mills yesterday urged Mainers to protect themselves and their communities from further spread:
Mills implored Mainers to abide by health rules even in their own homes by ruling out large house parties, wearing masks when inviting guests over and staying at least 6 feet apart from non-family members.
“We know COVID-19 thrives on even the slightest hint of complacency among people,” Mills said at an afternoon media briefing. “Maine has done well, but we have to do better.”
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 87 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday. There was a net increase of 76 cases because of probable cases from previous days that later tested negative.
The seven-day average of 53.8 cases is a new record, eclipsing the previous mark set in late May. The seven-day average has doubled in the last month and has nearly quadrupled since bottoming out at about 14 cases on Aug. 11 [Eric Russell and Joe Lawlor, “As Covid Hits New Heights, Mills Pleads for Mainers to Follow Public Health Rules,” Portland Press Herald, 2020.10.28].
Meanwhile, South Dakota’s absent Governor Kristi Noem, who remotely presides over a state with 34% fewer people than Maine but 18 times as many new daily cases of coronavirus this week and 23% more deaths from coronavirus (180) this month than Maine has had all year, visited Maine yesterday and told her Maine listeners that she’s better at pandemic management that Governor Mills:
“I made very different decisions than the Governor here in Maine,” Noem said. “I would remind [Mills] that she overstepped her authority, Governor’s do not have the authority to put in the mandates that she did.”
Noem disagreed with Mills’ mask mandates, the definition of essential business, and all safety measures the state took which, she said, resulted in the closure of businesses in Maine [Sam Rogers and Gabrielle Mannino, “‘Trump Tour’ Rolls Through Maine, Campaign Says State Is ‘Absolutely in Play’ for a Trump Victory,” News Center Maine, 2020.10.28].
Results speak for themselves. The editors of the Portland Press Herald say that they can Mainers can indeed learn from their South Dakota visitor and the very similar yet plague-riddled state she’s abandoned:
We are both rural states with small populations and a culture of outdoor recreation.
…The only things that will protect Maine from becoming another South Dakota is if Mainers continue to do the things we know will stop the spread of the virus.
What Gov. Mills gets right (and South Dakota’s governor gets wrong) is that fighting covid is a matter not of limiting individual freedom, but a matter of social responsibility. As long as this virus circulates, it’s up to each of us to protect the people around us by being careful.
With lives at stake, small sacrifices such as avoiding crowds, wearing a mask in public, maintaining safe distances and washing our hands is not too much to ask [editorial board, “Our View: Maine Needs No Advice About Covid from South Dakota,” Portland Press Herald, 2020.10.29].
Hey, that’s what Kevin Woster is saying… and pretty much the opposite of what Governor Noem is doing as she masklessly seeks the crowds of her national campaign.
Maine can learn from South Dakota as an example of what not to do. Maybe South Dakota can learn from Maine as an example of seeing through malarkey and electing a responsible Governor.