Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has much of the state confused after sending letters to school districts and health departments across the state ordering them to end mask mandates and quarantine orders. These letters were sent during a spike in COVID-19 cases in Nodaway County. It doesn’t make sense to tell people to disregard precautions when they’re most needed, unless someone is trying to make a name for themselves. Unluckily for the people of Missouri, Schmitt is trying to do just that.
The pandemic still has a strong grip on the world, especially with the new omicron variant on the rise. While early studies show that this new variant is less severe than some prior to it, it’s still wreaking havoc. The U.S. is setting records for case counts, unvaccinated individuals are still at high risk, and healthcare systems across the state and country are being overwhelmed by the virus.
Schools and health departments shouldn’t be taking away protocols or mandates, because it’s endangering at-risk individuals and increasing the likelihood of transmission of an already infectious virus.
Data from the CDC clearly shows that schools without a mask mandate in place have more severe outbreaks than their mandated counterpoints.
The Northwest Missourian Editorial Board has expressed our opinion on COVID-19 mitigations, how we need to take them seriously and why. Unfortunately, we have to address Missouri’s elected officials, and plead that they don't sweep the pandemic under the rug like it’s not a massive elephant in a studio apartment.
Administrator for the Nodaway County Health Department Tom Patterson said the orders are politically charged in an interview with Missourian shortly after the letters were issued.
“We really truly are just trying to prevent disease and transmission,” Patterson said in the same interview.
It’s been said ad-nauseum to this point, but nobody is being oppressed by mask mandates; they’re simply precautions to keep the public safe.
On March 24, 2021, Schmitt announced he would be running for Senator Roy Blunt’s seat after Blunt announced he would not be running for reelection. His sudden aversion to vaccination and mask mandates appears to be a ploy to gain voters in the upcoming election.
Schmitt appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” to discuss his ideas on why these mandates shouldn’t be enforced. As potential candidates for elections need as much exposure as possible, it’d be wise to get on high-traffic media outlets. With Fox News’ largely right-wing audience, Carlson’s show was the perfect venue for Schmitt to explain his plan to combat COVID-19 related mandates.
It’s not the first time the state attorney general has frivolously wasted the time and money of Missouri taxpayers for coverage and attention. A little over a month into the pandemic, Schmitt decided to focus his efforts on suing China for damages caused by the virus. So far the lawsuit has done exactly what many expected, nothing.
Whether Schmitt is disregarding the health of Missourians, or truly believes COVID-19 mitigations are a violation of freedom, liberty and everything American, forcing schools and health departments to ditch precautions isn’t the best plan of attack.
Yes, the masks can be cumbersome. Yes, staying at home sick with what can feel like the flu on steroids is horribly boring. However, what’s worse is having loved ones or anybody die from preventable causes. Politics are a treacherous trail to travel, but they aren’t more important than the millions of human lives we’ve lost to the pandemic. Repealing mandates in order to get elected is selfish.
Additionally, it makes no sense to take away safety nets. If we don’t need them, then the world is safe and can return to normal. If we do need them but don’t have them, then Missouri could be facing a lot of medical complications.
Our Attorney General is handling the pandemic in the wrong way, especially if he is using it for leverage in an upcoming election. Missourian lives are being considered with the implemented vaccine, mask and quarantine mandates. To disregard those is to disregard Missourians.
Schmitt is joining the ever-growing list of leaders in this country who decide to devalue science in favor of their own image. It’s simply dangerous. Schmitt has deemed it appropriate to pole vault his way to a better office using straw-man arguments and ignorance. It’s something all Missourians should take note of.