So far the Massachusetts vaccine rollout has been going about as smoothly as the Patriots’ first season sans Tom Brady. There is plenty of room for improvement.
Frankly, the Commonwealth should have nailed the rollout. When it comes to healthcare — well…it’s kind of our thing. According to US News, Massachusetts currently clocks in at #2 for best healthcare in the country, second only to Hawaii.
That’s not to mention the fact that Massachusetts’s single-payer system was one of the main inspirations for Obamacare. That’s right: the blueprint for Barack’s crowning achievement actually originated from one of Mitt Romney’s binders.
But the current COVID statistics tell a different story. Massachusetts has the third highest death rate per capita in the nation (behind New Jersey and New York) and the highest recorded nursing-home death rate — although New York has almost certainly undercounted their total.
According to Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker, Massachusetts has only given out 2.96 doses per 100 people. The total amount of the supply the state has used? Around 33 percent. Even New York, a state seemingly incapable of getting a handle on anything COVID-related, clocks in at 40 percent.
So what’s going wrong in Baker-ville? Perhaps it has something to do with all the ‘phases’. Anyone who has paid attention during this pandemic knows that there is nothing government officials enjoy more than overcomplicating things.
The Bay State’s ‘Phase 1’ includes people in long-term care facilities — but that doesn’t mean all of the elderly. Prisoners are included in the first phase, but older people who do not reside in long-term care facilities aren’t set to be vaccinated until Phase 2.
The CDC recently advised states to start vaccinating people 65 and older. But Gov. Charlie Baker would not budge from his phases, saying ‘I think the recommendations that were made by our group are appropriate and I think folks over the age of 75 are part of the beginning of group two.’
On the plus side — the Baker administration did go the extra mile to make sure there were no large gatherings on Thanksgiving. According to the governor, they ‘even checked out what size turkeys people were buying. And it turned out that the big ones were still around on Thanksgiving day, and all the smaller ones had been sold.’
Nothing demonstrates your priorities quite like calling grocery stores and getting a rundown on the Butterballs.
If Baker’s poor performance sounds eerily similar to that of New York governor Andrew Cuomo, well…that’s because it is. At least our governor managed to keep himself from writing a book about his stellar performance while the pandemic is still raging.
Both governors have had tragic calamities in their state’s respective nursing homes. Both have crushed their state’s economies…specifically small businesses…even more specifically bars and restaurants.
Perhaps most frustratingly, both smug governors never fail to remind us what a wonderful job they think they are doing.
Their elitism and arrogance led both leaders to pretend the southern states were the ones who were bungling their pandemic response. It wasn’t true in the beginning of the pandemic and it certainly isn’t true now.
Just look at West Virginia. The Mountain State has given out 5.98 doses per 100 people, nearly double the rate of Massachusetts. Gov. Jim Justice didn’t just work with local pharmacies, he even deployed the National Guard to help facilitate the rollout. His strategy, unlike the ones in Massachusetts and New York, didn’t just include the elderly — it prioritized them above everyone else.
Justice’s plan was not grandiose or complicated. He even laid it out on CNBC. ‘This is all about age and age and age. That’s just all there is to it,’ he said.
West Virginia has administered 71.8 percent of the vaccine doses it’s received, according to Bloomberg.
Will Gov. Justice write a self-aggrandizing book about his handling of the pandemic? Will he receive an Emmy statuette like Andrew Cuomo or an Edward M. Kennedy award like Charlie Baker?
Of course not. Justice forfeited his chances for media adulation when he switched parties a few years back, following most of his constituents from the Democratic fold into Trump’s GOP. Where’s the Justice in that?