In some heated and politically-pointed remarks at his Republican opponents, U.S. Senate candidate and governor, Steve Bullock, claimed GOP officials were ‘politicizing’ the coronavirus pandemic. Drawing Bullock’s ire was a letter from the Republican Legislative Leadership Team (consisting of Scott Sales, Greg Hertz, Mark Blasdel, Wylie Galt, Fred Thomas, and Brad Tschida) asking him to be proactive in preparing Montana for reemerging into the economy.
Bullock has not yet put together a detailed plan to get Montana back to work, although he has put together a task-force to help him decide how to dole out more than 2 billion dollars of federal stimulus money. The Wuhan Virus has led to ten deaths, more than four-hundred positive cases in Montana, and approximately 90 thousand new unemployment claims.
Given the marginal death rate of coronavirus in Montana, less than seasonal influenza this year, it is hard to justify maintaining the economic carnage that is devastating Montana’s economy and will no doubt lead to greater (although harder to quantify) loss of human life and increase of human suffering.
Trump stated at a White House press-conference over the weekend, “Texas and Vermont will allow certain businesses to open on Monday while still requiring appropriate social distancing precautions. Montana will begin lifting restrictions on Friday. Ohio, North Dakota, and Idaho have advised non-essential businesses to prepare for a phased opening starting May 1.”
It would be welcome news to Montanans who are having their lives and economy disrupted for what is, for the most part, very little cause. But, Senate Candidate Bullock is dragging his feet.
Bullock said in a response on Saturday, “This plan is being drafted based on science and data … and will consider the specific needs of Montanans. The governor recognizes that this crisis is not over and moving too quickly could jeopardize the progress Montana has made. Governor Bullock will announce next week what a gradual re-opening after April 24 will look like.”
However, Bullock has not yet given a plan about Montana’s re-opening, despite there being no new COVID-19 diagnoses in the last 24 hours, a first in Montana in weeks.