One of America’s top health officials endorsed the idea of a national stay at home order amid the COVID-19 pandemic, wondering why it hasn’t been implemented yet.
Dozens of states have ordered residents to stay at home unless they’re taking essential trips, including for groceries, medicine, or healthcare. Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota are among those without a stay at home order.
Asked about a national order being made, Dr. Anthony Fauci late Thursday said it should be.
“I don’t understand why that’s not happening,” Fauci responded. “If you look at what’s going on in this country, I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that. We really should be.”
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, acknowledged the “tension” between federal orders and state rights. Earlier Thursday, he said during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” that “there still is that issue of central government versus the ability and the right of a state to make their own decision.”
COVID-19 is a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
President Donald Trump has declined to issue a national order, preferring to leave orders up to governors. A number this week issued stay at home orders for the first time, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, citing Trump’s extension of social distancing guidelines until April 30.
“You have to give a little flexibility,” Trump said at this week at a briefing at the White House. “If you have a state in the Midwest, or if Alaska, for example, doesn’t have a problem, it’s awfully tough to say, ‘close it down.’ We have to have a little bit of flexibility.”
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said during an appearance on “Today” this week that America has a system of federalism that lets governors make the decisions. “But we’re going to give them the best possible guidelines we can, and that’s to stay at home and to social distance,” he added.
Some states in the middle of the country have seen far fewer cases than the coasts and governors have resisted giving orders to stay at home.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem told reporters this week that she takes her role with respect to public safety very seriously but added that “the people themselves are primarily responsible for their safety.”
“They are the ones entrusted with expansive freedoms—they are free to exercise their rights to work, worship, and play—or to stay at home, or to conduct social distancing,” she said. “The calls to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to this problem in South Dakota is herd mentality, not leadership.”
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said at a press conference on March 25 that he doesn’t want to enter “a shelter-in-place environment.”
“I do not want to shut down our manufacturing or our, other than essential, businesses. I don’t want to go to that step,” he said.
“And so how do you avoid having to go those additional steps, like we’ve seen in other states? And the answer is: let’s all do our responsibility.”
State Health Secretary Dr. Nate Smith said residents should take care not to gather in crowds.
“I don’t think we have to shut down every place that has crowds, but you do not have to be crowded together just because it’s a public place,” Smith said. “It’s important that we all take responsibility and be mindful of what we’re doing.”
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said at a press conference on April 2 that his state is much earlier in the epidemic curve than states like New York, which has the most CCP virus cases in the United States.
“Our rules are more strict than some places with shelter at home orders,” he added. “We are taking the appropriate steps.”
South Dakota has 165 confirmed cases, 17 total hospitalizations, two deaths, and 57 recoveries. Arkansas has 683 confirmed cases, 66 current hospitalizations, 23 patients on ventilators, and 12 deaths. Nebraska has 255 confirmed cases and six deaths.
States without stay at home orders have announced a number of other measures, including asking the elderly to stay at home and shutting down businesses deemed non-essential.