Attack Trump nationally, attack New Mexicans locally

Blame Donald Trump.

Then blame him again.

And when all else fails, blame him a third time.

That’s the strategy pursued, relentlessly, by New Mexico’s governor. Whether prompted by a questioner or concocted all on her own, Michelle Lujan Grisham finds a way to blame the White House for just about everything.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” — oh, how David Brinkley is missed — the governor whined about the lack of a “national strategy” for COVID-19, accusing the president of “the worst abdication of a national response and responsibility to protect Americans I have ever seen in my government career.”

Question for Lujan Grisham and her ilk: If Donald Trump is a stupid, stumbling buffoon with no management skills, why do you want him in command of a “national response” … to anything?

Anyway, the Land of Enchantment’s tiny tyrant surely basked in her latest bigtime media spotlight — the same way she preened over her fawning coverage in Rolling StoneThe Washington Post, and The New York Times. Meanwhile, two of her minions weren’t assailing the 45th president. They were offering “grief” counselling to New Mexicans.

Well, that’s how they portrayed it. New Mexico Human Services Secretary David Scrase and Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley reviewed “COVID-19 related OpEds [sic] and letters to editors over the past four months,” and concluded that “denial and anger” are running rampant in the state, necessitating “a quick fact check.”

The largest whopper offered by Scrase and McCamley? That the novel coronavirus case fatality rate (CFR) is 1.3 percent.

Their deeply dishonest claim ignores the fact that, as Reason’s Jacob Sullum explained a few days ago, the CFR is not a “single, constant number,” but is impacted “by conditions, such as the patient mix and the quality and capacity of the local health care system, that vary from one place to another and that may change over time.” An exact figure at this moment is unknowable, because “the true number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. could be anywhere from six to 24 times higher than the confirmed number of cases.” Given that infections are much, much more widespread than testing currently indicates, Scrase and McCamley’s 1.3 percent is laughably high.

In their lame attempt at pop psychology, the cabinet officials also failed to inform readers that when it comes to COVID-19 fatalities, New Mexico is two very different states. KIVA has been tracking county-by-county data for months. Our analysis finds that “San McKinley” — a thought-experiment “state” comprised of San Juan County and McKinley County — accounts for nearly two-thirds of all deaths in the Land of Enchantment. It has a rate of 199 victims per 100,000 population. Amazingly, that figure is worse than New York. Worse than New Jersey. And worse than Connecticut.

The 31 counties outside San McKinley — making up over 90 percent of the state’s population, with 1.9 million people — have suffered, collectively, 11.5 deaths per 100,000 residents. In the contiguous U.S., that translates into the tenth-safest “state.” Peer states include Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Taking one final step in our analysis, the region outside San McKinley as well as Bernalillo County and Sandoval County, has a ridiculously low rate of 7.1 fatalities per 100,000 residents. That zone, comprising 51.3 percent of the citizenry, would be the fifth-safest “state” in the nation. Peer states include Oregon, Idaho, and Utah.

In no way does “science” justify the draconian, one-size-fits-all lockdown that Lujan Grisham and her underlings have imposed (and re-imposed) on an undeserving populace. And that is why their propaganda focuses, laser-like, on the alleged failings of the Trump administration and “grief” over “our new lives in a COVID positive world.”

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