Hot on the heels of President Donald Trump (again) denying the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference at his Las Vegas hotel and a subsequent rally in Bullhead City, Arizona, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) held his own press conference in Carson City to correct the record and urge Nevadans to “be more vigilant than ever” amidst this nationwide “third wave” of rising COVID-19 infections.
“We are not going to control the pandemic.”
– White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, on CNN this past Sunday
Trump repeats that the country is "rounding the turn" on the virus. (Cases in Nevada are about two-thirds of the way back to their peak over the summer.)
— Megan Messerly (@meganmesserly) October 28, 2020
On Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas.” In Bullhead City today, President Donald Trump repeated his claim that America is “rounding the turn” on COVID-19.
These statements came as no surprise to us. We already knew that the Trump administration has put nearly zero effort into containing COVID-19, and we’ve already seen multiple instances of President Donald Trump promoting treatments that are either unproven (such as hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir) or flat-out dangerous (such as bleach and “herd immunity”). We already know what we need to do to contain COVID-19 and protect more Americans, and we already know Trump has no interest in doing any of that.
Once we remember all this, Donald Trump’s words and deeds in Las Vegas and Bullhead City today come as no surprise. Of course Trump sought to gaslight reporters at a press conference at his Las Vegas hotel, and of course he sought to gaslight the general public at a rally that Trump held on the Arizona side of the Colorado River because Nevada public health officials stepped up enforcement of our state’s health safety rules.
We’ll do more of a deep dive (or is it deep dunk, or is it just debunk?) into Trump’s lies and the disinformation network that amplifies Trump’s lies during a special edition of “This Week in Corona Scams” tomorrow. Meanwhile, Governor Steve Sisolak (D) held a press conference today to counter Trump’s claims.
“We are not ‘rounding the corner’. I don’t care who says it. Cases are going up.”
– Governor Steve Sisolak
During his presentation with Nevada COVID-19 Response Director Caleb Cage and Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Administrator for Public and Behavioral Health Julia Peek, they went through both the state’s COVID-19 stats (see below) and recent national data to explain why this “third wave” that’s already straining hospitals in Arizona, in Utah, and elsewhere should be taken seriously.
In response to Trump’s latest demand that Sisolak “open up your state”, Sisolak pointed out that other than Clark County School District (CCSD) school campuses and rural brothels, “Most things are opened up right now,” albeit with additional health safety regulations. And on Trump’s claim that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency, Sisolak retorted, “We are not ‘rounding the corner’. I don’t care who says it. Cases are going up.”
Sisolak later added, “More people contract this disease every day than the maximum capacity of [Allegiant Stadium]: 70,000 people per day. I talk to my fellow Governors in other states. They have to ration care in their states’ hospitals.” And while he didn’t name Trump, it was clear who Sisolak was referring to when he said, “If they think that is ‘rounding the corner’, they are dreaming or lying to Americans.”
“My expectation is that community leaders come up with a robust plan. As long as they do, I will have their backs.”
– Governor Steve Sisolak, previewing tomorrow’s task force meeting on Washoe County’s COVID-19 surge
Sisolak reiterated today that he wants CCSD schools reopened for in-person learning soon, and that he wants to allow larger events in Las Vegas and across the state in January, but he again stressed that this can only happen when Nevada better contains COVID-19. Or as Sisolak described this ongoing balancing act, “I don’t want businesses to go under. I don’t want people to lose their jobs. I don’t want people to get COVID-19. I want our families to be happy and healthy.”
As the Nevada Health Response county task force prepares for its emergency meeting with Washoe County leaders to discuss a plan of action to bring down its rapid spread of COVID-19, Sisolak urged Washoe County, the Cities of Reno and Sparks, and the Washoe County School District to work with state officials to stop this rapid spread: “My expectation is that community leaders come up with a robust plan. As long as they do, I will have their backs.”
And when it comes to the rest of the state, Sisolak again urged Nevadans to comply with state rules and guidelines on social distancing, face coverings, and sanitation in order to allow for more returns of pre-COVID activities. Or as Sisolak put it, “We need to be more vigilant than ever and step up our efforts.”
Here’s another COVID-19 (Nevada data) check-up.
This week, Covid Act Now has returned Nevada to its highest risk level of “active or imminent outbreak”. When we check their data, The Nevada Independent’s COVID-19 tracker, and the official Nevada Health Response dashboard, we clearly see why they’re sounding the alarms.
According to Covid Act Now, Nevada’s overall infection rate remains at a dangerously high 1.12, or every 100 COVID-19 infections leading to another 112. While Lyon County (0.82), Douglas County (0.87), and Carson City (0.98) have lower infection rates, Clark (1.10), Elko (1.12), Washoe (1.14), and Nye (1.25) Counties still show a much more rapid spread. Daily case growth is also alarmingly high in all these counties except Douglas, but case growth is also high in Mineral, Humboldt, Churchill, White Pine, Lincoln, and Lander Counties.
Nevada’s cumulative test positivity rate remains high at 12.2%, and the seven-day rolling average remains just above 20%, well above the WHO’s recommended 5% test positivity benchmark for safe reopening. As of today Nevada has a total of 565 (confirmed and suspected combined) hospitalized COVID-19 patients, and Nevada has recorded a total of 1,766 COVID-19 deaths.
If you’re in need of medical treatment, contact your primary health care provider first. If you fear you can’t afford treatment from a hospital or doctor’s office, check with the Southern Nevada Health District, Washoe County Health District, Carson City Health and Human Services, or the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services for resources in your area. For additional aid, check the Nevada Current’s and Battle Born Progress’ resource guides. If you can afford proper treatment and you are fortunate enough to help others in need, please donate to larger operations like Direct Relief and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, and to local groups like Three Square.