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Gov. Jay Inslee
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Dori: Gov. Inslee, it’s OK to admit you’ve been wrong

Gov. Jay Inslee. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Jay Inslee simply will not admit he is taking our state down a destructive path.

We have roughly 1,000 people in our state who the Department of Health say are victims of coronavirus. According to DOH data, 52% of the deaths are people 80 and older, and 38% are 60-79 years old. Without a more specific breakdown, the best estimate is that 85% of the deaths are people 72 and older.

We learned this week that the state may have artificially inflated the death count by as much as 13%. So that means the real number might be closer to 870 deaths, with only 130 of them being people under the age of 72. Almost all of them had other underlying health conditions.

While all deaths are tragic, we must ask an honest question: Is it worth the complete destruction of our state’s economy for a virus that kills far fewer than die in an average flu season?

But Jay Inslee refuses to adjust. He refuses to admit he’s been wrong. Just-released numbers for April show unemployment is at an all-time high. A million people in Washington are newly unemployed. Tens of thousands of business owners are facing financial ruin.

And there may be a much better way to move forward.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis hasn’t ignored coronavirus. Instead, he had a laser-like focus to protect the most vulnerable people in his state: the elderly. And the results so far have been notable. Two months ago, the media brutalized DeSantis, calling him a public menace who was going to have blood on his hands with his “reckless” policies.

In a great analysis by Rich Lowry at National Review, he details how DeSantis is handling this crisis in Florida.

DeSantis and his team have followed the science closely from the beginning, which is why they forged a nuanced approach, but one that focused like a laser on the most vulnerable population, those in nursing homes.

At the outset, DeSantis looked at South Korea’s experience: “I just thought it was so dramatic, the extent to which this was concentrated in the older age groups. I think the first real fresh set of South Korea numbers I looked at, I think it had no fatalities under 30, and then 80 percent of them were 70 and above or something like that. It was really, really dramatic.”

Then there was Italy: “I think a lot of the policymakers in the U.S. acted like Italy would happen in the United States, but when you look under the hood of Italy, there were huge differences, and there were reasons why that part of Italy fared as poorly as it did. I think the median age of fatality was something like 82 in some of those areas in Northern Italy. So we looked at that, but that really helped inform the strategy to focus most of our efforts on the at-risk groups.”

Florida, DeSantis notes, ‘required all staff and any worker that entered to be screened for COVID illness, temperature checks. Anybody that’s symptomatic would just simply not be allowed to go in.’ And it required staff to wear PPE. ‘We put our money where our mouth is,’ he continues. ‘We recognized that a lot of these facilities were just not prepared to deal with something like this. So we ended up sending a total of 10 million masks just to our long-term-care facilities, a million gloves, half a million face shields.’

DeSantis didn’t freak out about people at the beach or in parks. He devoted the lion’s share of the state’s energies and resources to the most vulnerable.

On Wednesday, DeSantis blasted how the media has covered this story: “We have a lot of people in your profession who waxed poetically for weeks and weeks about how Florida was going to be just like New York. Wait two weeks, Florida’s gonna be next. Just like Italy — wait two weeks. Well, we’re eight weeks away from that and it hasn’t happened. We have a lower death rate than the (Northeast corridor). We have a lower death rate than the entire Midwest. We have the lowest death rate (in the South).”

And that is despite the fact that Florida has a large elderly population. It also was the number one landing spot for people fleeing New York — the number one hot zone in the world.

“So we succeeded and I think that people just don’t want to recognize it because it challenges their narrative — it challenges their assumption,” he said.

Could it be that Florida has found a better way to handle coronavirus? Their data supports that conclusion. And they are doing it without total destruction of their state’s economy.

Perhaps Jay Inslee should admit that maybe his approach is wrong. But at this point, it seems that Inslee would rather cling to the wrong than admit any mistakes. Of course, he is largely getting a free pass from most in the media because the members of the press would have to admit they’ve been wrong as well.

There are many other areas where Inslee has been demonstrably wrong. He has released over 1,000 felons from our state prisons. Hundreds of them with multiple gun felonies. What did he think was going to happen with that strategy? Some of those felons have already re-offended.

Last Friday, 33-year-old Matthew Cory — who has seven felonies, including being a felon in possession of a stolen gun — was arrested for a brutal attack in an Everett park. A woman in her 60s was on a walk on the Interurban Trail when Cory allegedly came up and started violently choking her. She was able to scream for her life. Police later caught Cory after a chase through the woods.

As reported by Q13 News, Cory told police he’d been using meth for two weeks and hadn’t slept for seven days. He claims he doesn’t remember the attack that happened minutes earlier.

What did Jay Inslee think would happen when a seven-time felon and untreated meth addict was released onto the streets? A crime like this is almost inevitable. Inslee says he released those felons for “public health” reasons. How about the public health of their victims as they re-offend?

We are in the midst of a complete destruction of our economy, perhaps for years to come. And the data that Jay Inslee talks about nonstop just does not support the actions. Florida may be proving there’s a better way. Releasing felons onto the streets is destroying the lives of people like that Everett woman who was just going for a walk on a lovely spring day.

We’ll continue to do what we can to help. No one wants to ignore coronavirus. We’ll wear masks in our stores. We’ll work from home when possible. But real life and actual data simply does not support the madness of the path our governor is imposing on all of us.

Jay, it’s OK to admit you were wrong. The madness has to end.

Listen to the Dori Monson Show weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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