In times of crisis, strong, centralized leadership is critical. As an EMT trainee, that is unmistakable to me. In casualty events, the senior responder assumes incident command and directs communications, resources and triage to ensure actions are based on the best information, critical supplies are at hand and priority patients receive help first. The difference between a planned, controlled response and chaos is vast and can mean saving or losing a precious life. I know both sides.
Gov. Little’s response to the coronavirus crisis deserves praise. He assumed incident command and declared an Idaho state of emergency the day the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Idaho. His stay at home order was issued the day the first coronavirus case of community spread was confirmed. He said he is “following the science” to protect Idahoans.
Unfortunately, extremists and others within his own party threaten the effectiveness of the order. The day the order was issued, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin asked her Facebook followers their opinion of the “sweeping” order, which she said surprised her and many Idahoans. She must have been surprised when 74% of the 13,600 respondents said they approve of the order. Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Wayne Hoffman described the order as bowing to “fear mongering.” Rep. Tim Remington, the pastor of the Altar Church in Coeur d’Alene, flouted the order by holding in-person church services. Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler urged Idaho legislators to return to Boise in an emergency session to discuss a claim by globalist “Alfie” that the pandemic is an attempt to bring President Trump and the economy down. Rep. Heather Scott, also from Bonner County, told supporters the pandemic is a “global, socialist agenda” and the stay-at-home order is not “the Idaho way.”
But helping to protect Idahoans is the Idaho way. The donation of 42,000 pounds of food from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints initiated by local LDS leaders, a $5,000 donation from Hope Lutheran Church, both to the Community Food Basket, and myriad other accounts throughout the state of Idahoans helping Idahoans demonstrate that.
The only state-by-state model of coronavirus casualties that exists in this country, the University of Washington Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, predicts — some say too optimistically — that 69 deaths will result from COVID-19 in Idaho. A key assumption of the model is that people will shelter in place diligently until it’s safe not to, and if they don’t, deaths will mount. On an EMT call, my job is to support the incident command. Not doing so risks wasting time and lives. Those who dismiss Gov. Little’s order are risking the safety of all of us.
To ensure that your vote for candidates who believe in the Idaho way of Idahoans helping to protect Idahoans is included in the election returns of the May 19 primary, request and mail or drop off your absentee ballot early. Voter registration and requesting an absentee ballot may be completed through May 19. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on June 2.