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Monday, August 2, 2021

Welcome to the Red Zone! RI COVID rates pushes past 100 per 100K

After a month of fast and steady rise, what will McKee do?

By Will Collette

Well, it didn't take us very long to reach the worst level of COVID transmission. On Friday, we were at 85+ cases per 100,000 of population and I was sure we would reach 100,000 when the Health Department reported the weekend numbers. 

As recent as the first week of June, our rate was a low 10+ per 100,000.

But sure enough, we jumped almost 15 points over the weekend to 103.4 and moved from "substantial" to "high" transmission levels, the highest level in the rating system.

If accidental Gov. Dan McKee had the stones for it, he would execute the Emergency Powers he retained for himself (over anti-vaxxer Charlestown Rep. Blake "Flip" Filippi's strenuous objections) and reinstitute a mask mandate for all, as well as a vaccine mandate for all Rhode Island public employees.

McKee should also reinstate travel restrictions and even bans on visitors from states with infection rates even worse off than us. Especially Florida where there is a lively summer influx of thousands of "fake Floridians." 

Those are Rhode Islanders who have decided to set up residency in Florida to avoid state tax but actually still live here.

Normally, the Rhode Island Health Department updates its COVID stats daily at 2 PM, but not today when they were two hours late releasing the bad news. I suspect they probably held the numbers until they gave McKee's office a head's up and maybe even waited to get his go-ahead. Note that this is just my hunch.

Note that our daily rate for COVID testing is down close to nothing. Without vigorous testing, we just don't know how bad it really is. The asymptomatic or vaccinated people with mild break-through symptoms probably aren't seeking out tests.

The bottom line is that the unvaccinated must get vaccinated and we all need to mask up again. This is a public health emergency AGAIN and all of us, from Dan McKee on down need to start acting like it.

Or we could all move to Florida: