Politico: The Pandemic and Personal Responsibility
THE PANDEMIC OF PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY — First, President Donald Trump handed the decision for when to reopen the economy to America’s governors. Now, as local leaders begin to lift shutdown restrictions, they’re passing the buck to a new potential fall guy for the anticipated rise of Covid cases and death counts: you, the state resident.
Federal officials and governors from both parties have pushed the message of personal responsibility since the start of the coronavirus outbreak — we all know how to properly wash our hands after all of those videos.
The current message from many governors, facing horrific jobless claims numbers, is: We’ve done our job, now it’s on you not to get sick.
Mississippi’s Republican Gov. Tate Reeves pleaded with state residents earlier this week to stay vigilant as the state’s death count spiked and he moved to ease business restrictions: “Just because something is legal does not mean it is wise,” he said. “There is no government replacement for your personal responsibility.”
New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, visibly frustrated after presenting statistics showing hospitalizations rising among people who said they were staying at home, said Wednesday, “Much of this comes down to what you do to protect yourself.”
South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem continued this week to dismiss the idea of statewide shutdown orders arguing, “The people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety.” North Dakota’s Republican Gov. Doug Burgum has pushed a similar message, but his state has also deployed a contact tracing and testing army to keep the virus contained.
In Colorado, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis is lifting lockdowns, while addressing mounting anger over safety recommendations: “That’s the flip side of the coin of freedom: personal responsibility to yourself and others.”
Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds emphasized “personal responsibility” Thursday at a news conference announcing that malls and other retailers could further open.
Rhode Island’s Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo lifted business restrictions saying, “I am trusting that people are going to do the right thing.”
In Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said now that businesses are allowed to operate, people are on their own to keep from getting sick: “We’ve got to get people to own their personal responsibility, to continue to do the right thing, stay away from folks in public, wear a mask in a crowded grocery store, wash your hands.”