SC Gov McMaster Issues Stay At Home Order While There Are Still Some South Carolinians
South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has finally issued a stay-at-home order for the state after dilly-dallying for weeks. McMaster must've realized that they don't hand out medals to governors who let their constituents die in a viral outbreak. McMaster had tried gently requesting residents stay home like he was the weak-ass assistant principal students never listen to. People were still chilling in parks and non-essential shopping until they dropped, which could've literally happened given how quickly COVID-19 is spreading in my home state.
MCMASTER: Too many people are on the roads, too many people are on the waters, too many people are in the stores, too many people are not (complying) with our requests for social distancing. We've asked, we're urged, we've suggested ... But the last week or so has shown that it's not enough. The rate of infection is in the rise and the rate of noncompliance is on the rise.
“We've asked, we've urged, we've suggested" is the kind of passive leadership conservatives might mockingly expect from some namby-pamby liberal state. I currently live in Oregon, and Gov. Kate Brown enacted a stay-at-home order two weeks ago. There are now 1,068 confirmed coronavirus cases and 27 deaths. Oregon was even able to send 140 ventilators to New York. Meanwhile, South Carolina has 2,049 confirmed cases already and 44 deaths. Oregon's first reported case was February 28. South Carolina's was March 6. Congress was already passing emergency aid bills for the "Democrat hoax." South Carolina had so much lead time to prepare, but Donald Trump's stupidity is apparently an airborne ailment for some Republican governors.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control projects that the number of cases in the state will quadruple to more than 8,000 over the next month and 3,500 will require hospitalization. That's slightly less than the current reported cases in Washington state — the epicenter of the outbreak. Washington's population is also larger by roughly 2 million people. Washington's first reported case was January 21. My family and childhood friends are on the Titanic and McMaster has “asked, urged, and suggested" the COVID iceberg to get out of the way.
Greenville County, where I grew up, has 186 cases or 37 per 100,000 people. Multnomah County, where Portland is, has 233 cases or 29 per 100,000 people. This is horrifying. A guy from my old neighborhood just survived COVID and “survived" is the right word. He was seriously ill for weeks, and he's younger than I am. This is not the flu, y'all. His older brother also survived COVID but he lives in New Jersey. The corona does not seem to like this family, and they're perfectly lovely people.
We've discussed how COVID disproportionately delivers ass whoopings to black people, and that's the racial elephant in the room. South Carolina has a black population of 27 percent. Washington's black population is 3.6 percent, and Oregon has a black population of just 3 percent — I'm literally the margin of error.
Violators of the new “work or home" order face a $100 fine or a 30 day stay-in-jail order. “Essential" stores are required to limit shoppers to 20 percent capacity or five people per 1,000 feet, whichever is less. McMaster is giving hall passes to residents who want to attend church and collect coronavirus like Easter eggs. He won't ban church services like every other public gathering of three or more people, but he has asked, urged, and suggested that churches try to maintain social distance inside or hold service outdoors like it's Jesus in the Park. To quote the scripture, this is so fucking stupid. There is no religious exemption to infectious disease and Jesus has never successfully shared his resurrection trick. If you catch COVID, you can wind up dead and that's just the end of the movie like Jesus Christ Superstar.
My father, fortunately, has the sense to stay home and livestream Easter service. “You have to take this seriously," he told me. Indeed. The state's motto is “While I breathe, I hope," and I hope everyone in the state is able to keep breathing.
Now, for my own mental health and self care, let's watch an adorable young couple enjoying downtown Greenville. I know you don't have the best leadership right now, but stay safe, South Carolina.
Let's Take A Walk: Downtown Greenville, SC www.youtube.com
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).