* Jim Meadows interview with Rep. Darren Bailey last October… JM: Speaking as a legislator yourself, if this emergency comes before the General Assembly, how do you want the state to address the COVID-19 outbreak? DB: Well, I’ve been arguing that since day one. Many states never closed. Just about every state around us seems
* Jim Meadows interview with Rep. Darren Bailey last October…
JM: Speaking as a legislator yourself, if this emergency comes before the General Assembly, how do you want the state to address the COVID-19 outbreak?
DB: Well, I’ve been arguing that since day one. Many states never closed. Just about every state around us seems to be open right now. It seems to me that as we keep closing, as we keep restricting people, in every case: this is a virus. It’s not going to disappear. So it’s much like the flu. So we have flu season, every fall, we know this comes around. This is probably something that, from the information that I’m hearing from the doctors that I talked to that, this may rear its head from time to time. So to destroy the local economy over this, the financial pandemic, that’s the true pandemic that’s taking place. The mental health pandemic that’s taking place. Our school children, in many cases are being kept home. The nursing homes are being locked down. So as a representative, I hear this all day long from people across the state. That’s what I’m standing up (and) fighting against.
JM: Is there also a danger that if that approach is taken, that the level of outbreak may go higher than it is already right now?
BAILEY: Obviously. The numbers are spiking again. But so far, when we see the numbers spike, they come back down. But if we continue to pull back in and rein ourselves in, we are preventing what probably is going to have to happen with the virus. Are we waiting on a vaccination or some medications take care of this? I don’t know when that’s going to come. When’s the next strain of another virus going to come? We are not getting the answers from the Illinois Department of Public Health that we are asking for. The data and the information that they tell us they have, they don’t present it. And constantly, their mitigation situations have changed many times. So it’s certainly a situation where, we’re free Americans, and my argument is that we should live like that. Because what’s at stake with the shutdowns is our economy and our mental health situation.
JM: When you said, “what probably has to happen with the virus,” are you talking about herd immunity?
DB: Possibly, yes. If you need to wear a mask, you wear a mask. If you’re concerned, you stay home. But to continue to destroy the economy as is being done, we’re going to see some long-lasting effects that I don’t believe that we’re fully aware of right now.
(“Herd immunity” occurs when enough people become immune to a disease to make its spread unlikely. That can happen when enough people receive a vaccine or survive being infected with the disease. Most health experts say herd immunity to the coronavirus by infection is a dangerous strategy that would likely lead to more deaths. Rep. Bailey’s opinion on herd immunity follows ideas expressed in the Oct. 4 Great Barrington Declaration, written by medical professors Sunetra Gupta, Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, and sponsored by the libertarian American Institute for Economic Research.)
That interview was done just before the virus surged wildly out of control. And opening up nursing homes back then would’ve been an unmitigated disaster.
* Natalia Dagenhart interview with Sen. Darren Bailey last week…
Q. As Illinois governor, would you mandate a coronavirus vaccine?
A. Absolutely not. The government’s role is to educate and advise. When the government starts mandating and forcing people and telling them what to do – we have problems.
Q. Do you think that it would be fair for Illinois employers to request their employees to get vaccinated in order to keep their job? What about schools? Should they mandate a coronavirus vaccine?
A. Absolutely not. I am adamantly opposed to that.
Q. Many states are opening up. Would you open Illinois? Should we open concert halls, opera houses, and other cultural institutions?
A. Yes, I would never have closed them. If the government advises and lets people choose, people have their own choice of where to go and what to do.
The state can’t mandate an experimental vaccine and the shot hasn’t yet been approved for children, but does it sound to you like he was for herd immunity before he was against it?
A number of hospitals in northwest and central Illinois are filling up — and at least one ran out of intensive care unit beds — amid the latest COVID-19 surge.
Recent spikes in cases have been seen across the state, including in the Chicago area where ICU bed availability is also down, though not as severely. Even as some coronavirus metrics in Illinois have improved slightly this week, certain hospitals are continuing to feel squeezed.
About a half dozen Illinois hospitals operated by OSF HealthCare had at least 90% of their beds filled Tuesday, said Dr. Michael Cruz, chief operating officer.
OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria was at 97% occupancy as of Tuesday morning. OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford was at 96%, and OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington had no available intensive care unit beds, Cruz said.
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