Democratic challenger blasts Gov. Holcomb following release of latest COVID-19 numbers

Indiana

Business executive Woody Myers speaks to the media as he hands over paperwork to put his name on the Democratic primary ballot for Indiana governor at the Statehouse in Indianapolis on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Tom Davies)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WANE) Dr. Woody Myers, the Democratic candidate for governor in Indiana, is calling for incumbent Republican Eric Holcomb to return to an earlier stage of the Back on Track Indiana plan following the release of the latest COVID-19 numbers from the state health department.

“Two weeks after Gov. Holcomb recklessly moved Indiana into Stage 5 and despite public health experts warning the pandemic was rapidly resurging, I am now calling on the Governor to take action to save Hoosier lives. Gov. Holcomb’s current plan is clearly moving us in the wrong direction as many of the 1,832 new cases and 19 deaths today were, sadly, preventable,” Myers is quoted as saying a a press release sent to media outlets in Indiana.

The Myers campaign cited several statistics to back up his call for action:

  • Friday’s COVID-19 facts and figures represent Indiana’s one-day record with 1,832 new coronavirus cases. 6% of today’s batch of tests came back positive; for 1st-time patients, the rate is 14.9%, highest since May 6. The 7-day average, which runs a week behind, holds at 5.1%, but rises to 9.3% for 1st-timers
  • The percentage of ICU beds available statewide is at its lowest (30.3%) since the state started reporting that number in early April
  • The 7-day average of people hospitalized with COVID-19 is 1,056 – that’s the highest it’s been since June 2 – and it’s increased for 17 straight days, jumping 36% in that time

Based on those statistics, Myers is recommending the following actions be taken by Governor Holcomb:

  • Reversing course from Stage 5, returning to an earlier stage of the reopening plan
  • Issuing new guidance to schools undergoing in-person learning to switch to distance learning (some schools are already doing this)
  • Instituting a true mask mandate enforceable by current state law
  • Declaring a public health emergency that warrants no-excuse absentee voting to avoid long lines of Hoosiers in close contact with one another during this election cycle  

When contacted by WANE 15, Governor Holcomb’s Press Secretary Holly Lawson issued the following statement:

Woody is trying to scare Hoosiers. While Governor Holcomb is looking at the data and listening to the doctors to safely get Indiana’s economy back on track, Woody Myers wants to shut down Indiana’s economy and arrest people for not wearing masks. We’ve made so much progress compared to other states. Together, we’ve made it to Stage 5 because of Hoosiers’ actions, and it’s those same actions that will keep Hoosiers safe and our economy open.

Libertarian Donald Rainwater is also on the ballot for governor in November. His stance on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic is much different from both Holcomb and Myers. The following excerpt was taken from his website:

As Governor, I would propose that the Indiana General Assembly pass legislation to ensure that a Governor never has the unilateral power to shut down our economy again.  I will not mandate the shutdown of businesses, churches, or schools.  I will not mandate the wearing of masks.  I will not mandate vaccinations.  I will end any such Executive Orders upon taking office.  Hoosiers must be well-informed and be allowed to make their own choices as citizens, not subjects.

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