Gov. Phil Scott today sharply rebuked Vermonters who in the name of patriotism and freedom refuse to follow state Covid-19 requirements.
Vermont is at an all-time high of 593 positive cases. A record 122 positive cases were recorded yesterday, November 16. Health officials expect the number of cases to grow. According to the Vermont Health Dept. dashboard, 17 Vermonters are hospitalized with Covid-19, with one in the ICU. Deaths are at 59, with one since mid-July.
Reading his prepared opening remarks at his regular Tuesday press conference (about the 50 minute mark), Gov. Scott said:
“I want to speak to the skeptics….again. Make no mistake. I understand that if you want to ignore the science or choose not to believe, there’s not much we can do to stop you. But I want to be clear. The number of people in hospitals across the country is growing because some care more about what they want to do than what they need to do to protect others – keep people in schools, keep people working, and prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed to the point where care is being delivered in makeshift hospitals. It’s a fact that the consequences of an overwhelmed health care system will have a greater impact onthe economy and welfare than all the prevention and mitigation measures in place across the country.
“So – again – the skeptics are right. They can do what they want. But please – don’t call it patriotic. Don’t pretend it’s about freedom. Because real patriots serve and sacrifice for all. Whether they agree with them or not. Patriots also stand up and fight when our nation’s health ansd security is threatened. Right now, our country and way of life is being attacked by the virus, not by the protections we put in place.
“So – again – the skeptics are right. They can do what they want. But please – don’t call it patriotic. Don’t pretend it’s about freedom. Because real patriots serve and sacrifice for all. Whether they agree with them or not.” – Gov. Phil Scott
“I understand getting together with family and friends at the holidays is important. As I said last week I haven’t seen my mom or my daughter in more than a year. But right now we are seeing record growth, and it’s because….adults get together with other adults, in multiple household situations, usually involving alcohol, where they stop taking precautions…..
“You can question our methods. But please – do your part.”
Many commenters following the press conference online agreed with the governor, but not all. “Real patriots follow the Constitution,” said Kevin Ryan, an Essex Junction native who lives in New York City. “And the Governor is lying. Hospital admissions are not up…and never did they overwhelm hospitals, not even in New York City.”
That didn’t sit well with commenter Forrest Wallace: “Kevin Ryan, the constitution declares that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are our fundamental rights. By ignoring science you risk depriving others of their right to life.”
Gov. Scott later said he is frustrated with but not angry at some non-cooperative Vermonters, but is angry at the virus.
Other Vermont Covid-19 developments:
- Agency of Human Services Mike Smith today announced that, as in the spring, no visitors will be allowed at Vermont hospitals, except for limited exceptions.
- The State of Vermont has no program or plan to trace quarantined Vermonters via cellphone GPS, Gov. Scott said in reply to a press conference question by Vermont Daily. Reports out of New York say residents there are being tracked on their cellphones for purposes of quarantine enforcement.
- Friday’s press conference will discuss specifics about how last week’s ban on multi-household private gatherings will be enforced. Some “what if” questions have already been answered.
For example, in a home in which someone (returning college student, for example) is in mandatory quarantine, the other residents do not need to quarantine as well. WPTZ reported in an interview with a VT Dept. of Health official that “while a college student is quarantining, health experts said that doesn’t mean the rest of the family needs to…. the student in quarantine can still be around other family members in common areas of the home, just try to maintain 6 feet apart.”
Multi-family homeschooling appears to be exempt from the multi-household ban, a Vermont official told VPR’s Vermont edition following today’s press conference. The ban restricts specific multi-household activities, and education is not among them, the official said.
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