Denver7’s Robert Garrison reports on the resolution passed this week by the all-GOP Douglas County Board of Commissioners, declaring with the combined weight of exactly zero medical or public health experience that “the pandemic is over”–and ordering DougCo to drop its defenses against COVID-19:
Declaring that “this pandemic is over,” the Douglas County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution to opt out of further Tri-County public health orders beginning Friday…
Commissioner Abe Laydon brought up the Hans Christian Anderson’s folktale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” as a way to describe how further health restrictions in Douglas County, in his view, doesn’t match up with current data.
“Based on the facts that we have before us today, I want to have the courage of that young child (in Anderson’s folktale), and for Douglas County to be first county in the state to say that this pandemic is over,” Laydon said. [Pols emphasis]
For those who don’t get the literary reference, first of all shame on you. But DougCo Commissioner Abe Laydon is referring to the moment in The Emperor’s New Clothes when a child blurts out the obvious fact that the emperor in question is naked. Because, like Layton and his fellow DougCo commissioners have been saying from the beginning, this whole COVID-19 thing is way overblown! These Republican elected officials, as our readers know, have callously disregarded the threat of COVID-19 from the first days of the pandemic following Donald Trump’s dismissive “it will just disappear” lead.
You have to know the reference to understand just how offensive it is in this context. Laydon is saying that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed over 560,000 Americans and is not yet done, is political fiction like the emperor’s new clothes.
The truth is that by most estimates we are finally on the back side of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular the vaccination of a majority of the most vulnerable means that the threat of severe illness and death is in decline. But with the vaccination campaign racing against a variant-driven “fourth wave” of infections, it’s more important than ever to pay heed to the experts and keep up best practices to limit transmission of the virus until we’ve really, epidemiologically gotten to the end.
Last spring and summer, when the death toll from this pandemic was still hypothetical instead of the crushing reality it is today, Douglas County’s political grandstand against COVID-19 prevention measures, demonizing their own health department to the extent that public health workers were receiving death threats, was irresponsible. With 560,000 Americans dead, this cavalier attitude is nothing short of unconscionable.
How can anyone in public office be so flippant in the face of tragedy? Is this what DougCo stands for?