Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey was slow to act at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic before shutting down the state for a while in the spring.
While some may argue – and do – that reverting to an ineffective “Safer at home” initiative may have contributed to the increase in cases across the state, it’s more likely that rising numbers are attributable to widespread apathy.
Almost two weeks ago, the governor reluctantly issued a mandatory face mask order across the state through July 31. On Wednesday, she extended that order through the end of August.
Dr. Scott Harris of the state Department of Public Health underscored that move with the latest numbers: 81,687 cases in the state; 22,000 added in the last two weeks; and 1,345 on Tuesday alone.
More than 10,000 people have been hospitalized; more than 5,000 health care workers have been infected.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past that Americans put their faith in experts. The Centers for Disease Control was seen as the authority on health data. When a crisis appeared, America turned to its experts.
While the governor spoke Wednesday, her remarks were carried live on social media, accompanied by a continuous scroll of reactions peppered with snarky commentary from internet trolls who scoff at decisions based on science and experience because they believe something different.
It’s a disheartening glimpse of the state of society.
Meanwhile, across the state, and most likely the nation, there are many who refuse to wear masks, social distance, or adhere to any recommended preventative practice because it’s an inconvenience.