Oregon penalized for success on virus
It is long past time for the federal government to get its act together on providing COVID-19 testing supplies wherever and whenever they are needed. And that includes Oregon, which is essentially being penalized for doing a better job of containing the virus spread than many other states.
This is not the first time Oregon has had to fight for testing supplies and equipment. We noted in this space on May 1 — 77 days ago — that state health officials were told Oregon was a very low priority for receiving testing supplies because it had few cases and few deaths.
Now that pattern is being repeated, as this state has successfully reopened some of its economy. Cases are on the increase, but Oregon still has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. Maintaining that requires the ability to conduct more tests and get results back quickly enough to trace the source of infections and continue to limit the spread.
The alternative is going backward — which is already happening in states that waited too long to impose restrictions and where large numbers of people stubbornly refused to comply even after orders were in place. No one wants to see Oregon Gov. Kate Brown issue a new shutdown order, as California Gov. Gavin Newsom has done. But she has made it clear she will do that if she has to.
Oregon had 13,081 cases as of Wednesday, 196 of those in Jackson County. That’s a rate of about 311 cases per 100,000 population. Meanwhile, Florida had nearly 1,370 cases per 100,000 after reporting a record of more than 10,000 new cases in a single day. Texas topped 10,000 new cases Tuesday — also a record — and its rate stood at 956 cases per 100,000 people.
Despite these grim statistics, Texans opposed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s order shutting down bars held a mostly maskless rally over the weekend at a club near Houston in defiance of restrictions the club’s owner said were “against our constitutional right.”
Other bar owners are suing the Texas governor over the shutdown, saying it unconstitutionally bypasses the state legislature.
And Oregon can’t conduct enough testing because states whose residents act like complete fools are a higher priority for testing supplies.
What’s wrong with that picture?