Time to rescind Gov. Inslee's emergency powers in Washington State

After a year of oppressive quarantines, the jury on COVID-19 lockdowns is in.

Stanford University Medical School professor Dr. Jay Battacharya recently called COVID-19 lockdowns the "biggest public health mistake we've ever made[.] ... The harm to people is catastrophic." 

Bhattacharya is a co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration, a petition that calls for an end to draconian COVID-19 lockdowns.  Worldwide, more than 41,000 medical practitioners and upwards of 750,000 concerned citizens have signed the declaration.  

"Current lockdown policies are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health," read the group's website.  "The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health — leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden. Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice."

Others are echoing more of the same.

"To determine the best path forward necessarily means admitting that social lockdowns and significant restrictions on individuals are deadly and extraordinarily harmful, especially on the working class, minorities, and the poor," noted Scott W. Atlas, M.D., a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, recently, in a column for The Stanford Review.  From August through September, Atlas also served as special adviser to President Trump and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

And according to an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal last Thursday, "[t]he coronavirus lockdowns constitute the most extensive attacks on individual freedom in the West since World War II."

Predictably, in Washington State, lockdown criticism has fallen on deaf ears.  Under Democratic governor Jay Inslee, restaurants, gyms, and other businesses are still operating only at 25 percent capacity.

While 16 states, including Texas and Florida, have rescinded mask mandates, Inslee, rated the worst governor in the country for fiscal policy by the Libertarian Cato Institute, will finally allow his state to reopen at 50% capacity on March 22 — after an entire year of draconian lockdowns.

How benevolent.

Like Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, Inslee has been drunk on power ever since signing his initial emergency declaration in February 2020.  

"This will allow us to get the resources we need," Inslee said in a press release at the outset of the outbreak.

"This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state."

Truth be told, Inslee's obsessive "common-sense" approach to keeping Washingtonians safe and healthy amounted to little more than subjectively choosing winners and losers. While houses of worship were deemed unessential, Home Depot, abortion facilities, and pot shops were considered essential.

Even now, as the Evergreen state prepares to enter Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan with 50% capacity, there are punitive strings attached.

All counties will be subjected to an evaluation every three weeks, beginning April 12.  If any county fails one or more of the required metrics, it will fall down a Phase in the Healthy Washington plan.

"If at any point the statewide ICU [intensive care unit] capacity reaches greater than 90%, all counties will move down one Phase.  The Department of Health always maintains the ability to move a county forward or backward at their discretion," noted Inslee recently.

Strangely enough, Inslee's power-grab could finally be catching up to him.  

According to reporting from The Post Millennial: "Washington Democrat Governor Jay Inslee's Department of Social and Health Services issued directives to "transition" COVID positive patients primarily to "alternative settings" with nursing homes being the "primary strategy" in order to "create capacity for hospitals."  

As stated in a letter from Washington's Department of Social and Health Services, nursing homes that admitted COVID-19-positive patients were entitled to compensation by Medicaid.

Coming one month after a massive coronavirus outbreak at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington, initially dubbed as the epicenter for COVID-19, the timing of letter is especially curious, considering that by March 19, there were 35 reported deaths linked to the beleaguered nursing home, per CBS News.

In all, 46 died inside the nursing facility, East of Seattle, including residents, staff, and visitors, according to KING5.com.

Eerily, the scenario bears striking resemblance to New York governor Andrew Cuomo's nursing home scandal — though, on a much smaller scale — where discharged COVID-positive patients were admitted into nursing homes, a move that resulted in more than 10,000 deaths. 

"What's amazing is Inslee and his team at DOH saw the outbreak at Life Care and still asked nursing homes to take in COVID-positive patients," reports Beth Baumann in Townhall.

She adds: "Americans deserve to know how this outbreak impacted the rest of the nation, especially since Life Care was where this all started for the United States. And Inslee needs to be held personally accountable for every single one of these deaths."

At the very least, it is time to rescind Inslee's emergency powers.  Washingtonians have suffered enough under his unreasonable lockdowns. 

Elizabeth M. Economou writes from Seattle.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.