OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Republicans who control the Kansas Legislature struck back against Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly after she attempted to extend the state’s mask mandate because they said there is no longer any need to do so.
Lawmakers voted along party lines Thursday to repeal the mask mandate though Kelly was attempting to extend it. The move makes Kansas the latest GOP-led state to get rid of a mask mandate that many have said did not really do anything to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the first place.
The Epoch Times reported:
After the Kansas state legislature recently passed a law permitting the Legislative Coordinating Council—a legislative standing committee—to revoke executive orders, the Council decided in a 5-2 party-line vote to overturn the mask mandate immediately after Kelly took executive action extending facial covering protocols.
“There is no worrying spike today and no circumstances which justify the continued impositions … of the governor’s overreaching statewide mask mandate,” said state House Speaker Pro Tem Blaine Finch, a Republican, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Naturally, Democrats were opposed to ending the mandate, claiming that it is way too soon now that some COVID mutations have been seen (though they are no more viral or deadly than the original strain, according to reports).
“It would be a big mistake to go backwards right now,” state House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer said, according to the Capital-Journal. “Many states that have reduced some of their restrictions are seeing a COVID tick back upward. We don’t want to do that.”
In Kansas, daily new cases of the virus are trending downward, according to data from the Kansas Department of Health. Cases have fallen from 226 on March 22 to 85 on April 1.
Kelly said in a statement following the council’s vote she is “disappointed that Republican leaders are more motivated by political publicity stunts than working together to protect Kansans and our economy.”
“I know that all of us are ready to get back to normal, but wearing a face-covering will help protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our neighbors from the new COVID-19 strains that are wreaking havoc in other states,” she added.
The Epoch Times noted further that in states where mandates are being lifted and Americans are being permitted to once again resume normal lives, cases have fallen:
With the Council’s decision, Kansas joins 18 other states that either revoked or never imposed mask mandates, with governors in Wyoming, Mississippi, Texas, Alaska, and Montana all announcing this week they would not reimpose mask mandates despite emotional pleas from the White House and public health officials not to let up on mitigation measures.
Three weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the mask mandate in Texas, the state hit a record low for COVID-19 cases.
“Today the 7-day COVID positivity rate dropped to a new recorded low: 4.95 percent,” Abbott said late last month, noting also that hospitalizations had fallen to record lows during the pandemic.
Early on, Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota who was named to Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Transition Advisory Board, called for a new national lockdown of at least 4-6 weeks.
But red-state governors, including Florida’s Ron DeSantis, have pushed back, saying they will not comply with another call for a national lockdown.
And now with the virus subsiding and more than 120 million Americans vaccinated, say those who favor reopening and getting rid of COVID mandates, there is no real ‘scientific’ reason to continue locking down.