What Did They Know, When Did They Know It?
If we're going to call it an emergency, then let's act like it's an emergency. That was my rant Friday morning on the radio.
Pardon me if I don't buy it that the same folks who want to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, shut down Colstrip, and block new mines from getting up and into operation here in Montana are all of a sudden concerned about our 401K's. If this is an economic emergency- then let's build the Keystone XL pipeline, and let's get these mines up and running in Montana.
Then, for a more specific COVID-19 example (of calling something an emergency, but not acting like it)- Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT) declared a state of emergency in Montana. He also announced that the state was setting up a COVID-19 hotline that would be open from 8-5 Monday thru Friday. That's right, if you had questions about the "emergency," then you better call during business hours. Again, if we're going to call something an emergency- then let's treat it like one.
Fortunately, the Governor's office got enough blow back to finally announce that they would be manning the hotline, and the state lab testing results, on the weekends too.
But a bigger problem erupted over the weekend. Most Montanans went into the weekend, and filled indoor arenas for state high school basketball tournaments, under the assumption that Montana was, so far, free of the coronavirus. Fans were still in the arenas late into the evening Friday.
Earlier Friday, Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney had announced that he was cancelling campaign events- prior to the public knowledge that four Montanans had tested presumptive positive for COVID-19. On Saturday, word came out that the top higher education official, Clay Christian, tested presumptive positive for COVID-19.
To recap: Governor Bullock announced the emergency declaration on Thursday. Also Thursday, the Montana University System announced a major move- virtually all of their classroom instruction would move to online instruction. Then, on Saturday we get word that the top higher ed official in Montana tested positive for COVID-19, and the fact that Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney was already in a self-quarantine because he attended the same meeting that Christian attended when he reportedly came in contact with the virus.
So they basically shut down the university system and declared an emergency on a Thursday, but didn't tell anyone about the Clay Christian/Mike Cooney connection till Saturday? Meanwhile, they allowed indoor arenas to fill full of high school basketball players and fans from all across the state even after the state confirmed four presumptive positive cases of COVID-19. This all begs the question: what did they know, and when did they know it?