Tom Zawistowski, president of the TEA Party-affiliated We the People Convention in Ohio, responded to recent statements by Ohio GOP Governor Mike DeWine on state government actions in combating the coronavirus, “…The numbers just don’t add up, and your response is way out of proportion to the actual threat to the public. You gave the numbers yesterday: In six weeks from 2/7/20 -3/19/20 we have had 247 cases of coronavirus in Ohio and 58 hospitalizations and 3 deaths.”
He continued: “That is not cause to shut down our state and destroy tens of thousands of businesses and ruin hundreds of thousands of Ohioan’s lives. You know how many hospitalizations we have had from the regular flu? We had 9,828 last year and 17,397 in 2017-18. No shutdowns, no panic, with 70 times more hospitalizations than we have today.”
Zawistowski added, “…We are not New York and we are not Italy… New York has 10,356 cases, New Jersey has 1,327 and we have 247. Those two states should ‘shelter in place’ for a few days, but you have no reason to ask us to do the same in Ohio. Second, we are not Italy, but you keep saying that. Italy has the second oldest population in the world. They have a horrible government healthcare system. They did not do the things we are doing to protect ourselves from the coronavirus. We have the greatest healthcare system in the world and we are much younger than Italy.”
Zawistowski concluded, “…Italy is a nation of 60 million with 54,000 cases of coronavirus and 5,000 dead. The U.S. is a nation of 330 million – if it got as bad here as in Italy, we would have 270,000 cases and 27,500 deaths. You know how many Americans died of the regular flu in 2017-18? 80,000. No shutdowns. No school closings, No overwhelmed hospitals. No economic suicide… This nonsense ends on March 30th, Governor. We are giving you the three weeks you asked for and the 15 days the president asked for, but on March 30th we are going back to work…”
He is not alone in this assessment. People all over the country are starting to question the government response at all levels. Some states, such as Texas and Oklahoma, have been careful not to disrupt economic life. Other states, as noted above, have taken an aggressive approach to the virus.
The Democrats are starting to poll to see if the overreaction theme works for them politically. Their message is that the H1N1 hit America in 2009 and the rookie Obama administration fought it without economic dislocation. It killed 12,000-14,000 Americans. If this virus kills less then Democrats will ask why we crippled the economy for a virus that was less lethal than H1N1. Some voters will listen to them.