'North America as seen from New England,' Pinterest

As Donald Trump ranted yesterday that he is the Supreme Guardian of the American Galaxy, or King Shit of Fuck Mountain, or whatever he thinks he is, coalitions of governors on the Left Coast and the Elite Northeast announced they'd be working together to coordinate how and when their states would restart schools and businesses as the COVID-19 epidemic becomes more manageable in their regions. Both groups of governors said, in separate announcements, that they would base decisions on ending their states' lockdowns on science and data, and that their primary objective was to move slowly to make sure businesses and services come back without jeopardizing public health. If the federal government isn't going to be of any use, they figure, they may as well make their own "united" "states."

It's not clear the two coalitions necessarily had Trump's I'm In Charge Here tweet in mind in timing their announcements yesterday, but the contrast was pretty clear.


Shortly after Trump's tweet, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in his own tweet that the decision to reopen "MUST be driven by data and experts, not opinion and politics," and should take into account the "warning signs from other countries." Later, Cuomo held a conference call with the governors of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island to discuss the coalition; shortly afterwards, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, the only Republican in either group so far, said his state was joining as well.

Cuomo said of the regional effort, "State boundaries mean very little to this virus [...] We started this journey together and we're going to end it together." Each of the six states in the coalition will send three delegates to the group council: the governor, and designated experts on health and economic issues. Disagreements among the council members will be settled by bar trivia.

The governors of California, Oregon, and Washington also issued a joint statement announcing the "Western States Pact" outlining their general goals for getting their states out of lockdown as well. As far as we can tell, the Northeastern governors' group doesn't have a name yet, though we'd note that both the Sharks and the Jets sound cool. Or possibly the Chowder Coalition, since the other coast would clearly be more sushi oriented. Maybe they'll just go with "Biggie."

The western governors said that while each state would develop its own plan to emerge from lockdown on its own schedule, all three were committed to protecting their citizens' health above all, and that their plans would be grounded in "health outcomes and science — not politics."

This effort will be guided by data. We need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening, and we will be working in coordination to identify the best metrics to guide this.

The group set four general goals as they move toward rescinding lockdown orders:

• Protecting vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease if infected. This includes a concerted effort to prevent and fight outbreaks in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

• Ensuring an ability to care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This will require adequate hospital surge capacity and supplies of personal protective equipment.

• Mitigating the non-direct COVID-19 health impacts, particularly on disadvantaged communities.

• Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the West Coast group didn't mean he intended to give up working with the feds, just that regional governors know what their states need and can work together, too.

I have all the confidence in the world moving forward that we will maintain that collaborative spirit in terms of the decision-making that we make here within the state of California as it relates to a road map for recovery and road map to get back to some semblance of normalcy,

All nice and friendly-like, see? Nobody needs to fly off the handle and do something stupid, OK?

Both groups emphasized testing as absolutely key to any plan to come out of lockdown. Cuomo said it all had to be "informed by experts and data," and done slowly, because you don't just want to rush out of the airlock and get et up by a velociraptor (our metaphor, not his): "You take one step forward, you see how it works, and then you measure the next step."

Above all — in contrast to the rightwing push to open everything up again, jazz up the stock market, and tell Nana to watch her back, states will need to be willing to step back if need be:

If you see that infection rates start ticking up, which would be undermining everything we have accomplished thus far, then you know you've opened the valve too fast.

For his part, Donald Trump took to Twitter to call Cuomo a dangerous rebel who may need a good crushing:

So we suppose he's now King George III, or possibly Captain Bligh, but more about that later.

[WaPo / LAT / NPR / NBC News / Western States Pact]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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