“You can’t put a timeframe on saving people’s lives,” said Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
Republican governors are following the advice of public health experts and embracing coronavirus lockdowns and business closings despite President Donald Trump’s push to reopen parts of the country by Easter.
Trump’s press to scrap social distancing in all but the most virus-ravaged areas — and statements implying the fight to contain the disease have turned a corner — have rankled some GOP governors consumed with efforts to contain transmission and ease the burden on stressed local health systems.
“You can’t put a timeframe on saving people’s lives. We’re going to make decisions based on the scientists and the facts,” Maryland’s Larry Hogan, chairman of the National Governors Association, said on Wednesday.
Hogan’s frustration burst into the open Tuesday, when he blasted Trump during a CNN interview for sending “pretty confusing” messages on the virus that don’t sync up with the experience on the ground.
“Most people think we’re weeks away from the peak, if not months. That’s the advice we’re getting from the smart folks at Johns Hopkins, the National Institutes of Health, the University of Maryland, places like that,” Hogan said.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, who presides over a state Trump won with more than 68 percent of the vote, on Monday ordered residents to stay home after the confirmation of the first case of community transmission, in a nursing home. Justice ordered the state’s National Guard to test everyone at the facility in a bid to control further transmission.
Hogan this week ordered all nonessential businesses in Maryland closed, saying people weren’t taking social distancing guidelines seriously enough. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp hasn’t gone as far as issuing a lockdown order, but on Monday announced the closure of bars and nightclubs and banned public gatherings of 10 or more people.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday intensified his state’s aggressive social distancing efforts and signaled he was not willing to lift restrictions just to help the economy.
“We save our economy by first saving lives. And we have to do it in that order,” DeWine tweeted.
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