Response to COVID-19 varies by state

No unified national response as President Trump punts issue to Governors

As of 3:00 p.m. on April 8, there are a total of 12,754 reported cases of COVID-19 and 12,064 deaths attributed to COVID-19 across the United States.

At least 41 states, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have put into place lockdown measures meant to limit gatherings and social contact as of April 6. President Trump has pushed back against the idea of a Federal lockdown, saying in his press conferences that he would prefer to “let the governors decide” what is best for their respective states. 

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s COVID-19 task force, called for a shutdown during a CNN townhall on April 3. 

“I don’t understand why that (nationwide shutdown) is not happening. You know, the tensions between federally mandated and states’ rights to do what they want isn’t something that I look into,” Fauci said. “But if you look at what is going on in this country, I just don’t understand that.” 

Without the federal lockdown, governors have been left with the decision on whether or not to order a shelter-in-place. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered a shelter-in-place for the entire state, limiting travel for only essential trips and essential workers commuting. 

“As of right now, we are in a shelter in place across the state. Also, all K-12 schools in my county are closed for the rest of the school year,” sophomore Clara Igou from San Jose, California said.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott Texas has been reluctant to declare a similar shelter-in-place order like Newsom instead signing executive order GA 14 which is headlined as: “relating to statewide continuity of essential services and activities during the COVID-19 disaster.” Abbot believes that his order is different from other similar orders because residents “can actually go to the grocery store, the doctor’s office and conduct a handful of other essential activities.” 

“Texas as a whole is not under a stay at home order yet, but larger counties like Fort Worth and Dallas are,” sophomore Dallas resident Sara Sebastain said. “Abbott is encouraging all Texans to not leave their house, unless it is essential, but he doesn’t want to use the terminology ‘stay at home’ because it may inflict panic.”

Utah Governor Gary Herbert has yet to call for a state shutdown, but several ski resort counties have put in their shutdowns. 

“There is no statewide shutdown. Because of this, counties are maintaining their own shelter in place orders,” junior Utah resident Adams Freeman said. “My Dad is an attorney and he is considered ‘essential’, but he is working from home just to play it safe. Our governor has encouraged people to work from home but has not…mandated (it) yet”.

 Montana ranks lower than most states in both cases of COVID-19 and COVID-19 deaths, but Governor Steve Bullok still ordered a shelter-in-place on March 25. 

“The Governor has closed all non-essential businesses and schools until at least April 24. Colleges are also doing remote learning and students are encouraged to return home, but the dorms remain open,” sophomore Montana resident said.

The U.S. and Canada remain the only first-world countries have not yet ordered federal lockdowns. As of April 6 only Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota have yet to issue any kind of shelter-in-place.