Governor Stitt’s hellacious handling of the pandemic

Ethan Barnes, Santa Fe Staff Writer

With COVID-19 numbers on a resurgence across the country, Governor Kevin Stitt released a new set of COVID guidelines on November 16th and they include various restrictions. Starting on November 19th forward, restaurants will be  required to space tables at least six feet apart, forcing them to close their dining rooms at 11 p.m. Another restriction placed on all 33,000 state employees requires them to wear a mask in common areas or with other people. However, these three scanty guidelines are simply not enough to keep Oklahomans safe.

Kevin Stitt has handled the pandemic hellaciously.  As of November 27th, Oklahoma has a total of 184,342 COVID-19 cases, placing it 26th for overall cases in the United States of America. Yet, Oklahoma only has the 28th highest population in the United States. This means that roughly five percent of Oklahomans have tested positive for COVID-19. Governor Stitt implemented his first set of COVID guidelines on March 24th, they limited gatherings to no more than ten people, prohibited visitors to nursing homes or long-term care facilities, and postponed all elective surgeries. On March 24th, Oklahoma had a total of 106 positive cases. 

On April 1st, Stitt released another set of COVID guidelines and they lasted until the 30th of April. They included the closing of non-essential businesses, the closing of all bars and dining areas of restaurants, and extended the previous guidelines to April 30th. During this month, 2,899 COVID cases were confirmed. For the month of May, Stitt implemented a phased reopening consisting of three different stages. The first stage consisted of the reopening of dining rooms, gyms, and churches as long as they were following social distancing protocols. Phase 2 consisted of the allowance of organized sporting events and non-essential travel being allowed to resume. Phase 2 started on May 15th, with Phase 3, the return to “normal”, starting on June 1st. 

A lot of time has passed since June 1st, and with that came a soar of COVID cases. Since June 1st, there have been 156,026 confirmed cases, Governor Stitt has tested positive, students in Oklahoma have gone back to school, President Trump has tested positive, and the country has held a presidential election. The rise of cases since June 1st can only be blamed on one person: Governor Stitt. He has failed to implement a mask mandate for the state, which is something many cities have done on their own due to Stitt’s idiocy. When Stitt tested positive for COVID-19, he downplayed it, stating that, “It just kind of feels achy, like maybe the start of a little cold is what it feels like right now, but really I feel fine”.  In times of crisis, citizens look to leadership for guidance and with this behavior, Oklahomans have not taken COVID seriously.

Oklahoma is currently riddled with COVID; every Oklahoman is able to say that they personally know someone who has had it. People have gone back to their normal lives, with being completely fine, knowing that there is a chance they could get a deadly virus. Stitt has continuously done interviews without a mask, just demonstrating how he has felt about masks and now he has failed the state of Oklahoma. These guidelines that Stitt has implemented are still not enough, and that will be demonstrated by the continuous rise in case numbers. COVID-19 will get a lot worse than it will get better within the state of Oklahoma and Governor Stitt is the man to blame for that.