Officials from Lewis & Clark County gathered in Helena yesterday to scold the public and warn them that if people don’t follow “health guidelines” voluntarily then they will be forced to stay home. For County Commission Chairwoman Susan Good Geise, Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins, and Public Health Officer Drenda Neimann, the term “voluntarily” comes with a threat.
The three women spoke at a joint press conference on Wednesday to warn the public that if they see people not following their “guidelines” then they will be forced to issue another house-arrest order for Lewis & Clark County. These guidelines include keeping public events under fifty people, maintaining six feet of physical separation, and wearing a mask in public.
When issuing their ultimatum, they did so without wearing a mask. Additionally, each speaker breathed heavily upon a microphone while holding it up within spitting distance of their mouth and handed it off to the next speaker without first sanitizing it.
Without a mask, Commissioner Giesk warned Lewis & Clark residents, “This event today is a request in the strongest possible terms for people to do what is right voluntarily. No one wants to go to a mandate. … This is your last chance.”
Chelsia Rice of the Montana Book Company – a Democrat activist who lobbied for Medicaid Expansion – spoke and pled with the public to wear masks. Unlike several of the politicians or government bureaucrats speaking, Rice was wearing a mask when she got up to speak but took it down after grabbing the microphone. Without attempting to give any scientific data regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent COVID-19, Rice referred to mask-wearing as a “gesture” to show empathy with those who are vulnerable.
Diedra Neimann, the Lewis & Clark Health Nurse, said that events greater than 50 people should be canceled.
The overall message of the press conference was that the public was behaving irresponsibly by not wearing a mask in public or maintaining social distancing and if they do not amend their behavior, the county – and perhaps the entire state – might have to go back to a Phase 1 shut-down.
No official speaking at the press conference seemed to acknowledge that Bullock’s Phase 1 coronavirus response was predicated upon flawed data regarding the virus’ death rate, which has been soundly debunked with far fewer deaths or serious complications than were at first presumed. Currently, Planned Parenthood of Montana is more than one-thousand times more deadly than COVID-19 inside the Big Sky State.