“It has to be said.”

The novel coronavirus and COVID-19 numbers for the United States are about to go squiffy.

** Left-Wing Conspiracy Theory Alert **

That is to say, they’re about to go squiffier than they have been up to this point. That is further to say they’re going to go squiffier in states with republican (red) governors who…

…either waited too long to implement physical distancing and other restrictions that scientists and medical experts have repeatedly said are the only ways to slow the spread of coronavirus.

… or only issued “guidelines” for the Larry, Darryl and Darryl Neighborses out there to follow based on a hoped-for sense of responsibility to their fellow human beings.

…and/or “reopened” – lifted their guidelines or restrictions – too soon.

[For the sake of simplicity for this left-wing conspiracy theory, “red state” means a state that currently has a Republican governor. The distinction is important because some states that voted for Trump, the republican, in the 2016 presidential election are now led by governors who are democrats, i.e., blue governors.]

This COVID-19 Thing is Getting Fuzzy

As red-state governors began their premature releases this past week, I couldn’t help but think of a scene from one of my favorite movies, “Hot Fuzz.”

In the spoof cop-buddy film, Sgt. Angel is transferred from London to a village in the English countryside, the sleepy, smallish and seemingly superior Sandford. Because he’s such a phenomenal officer, arrest numbers throughout London fall noticeably after he leaves. His superiors travel to Sandford to convince him to return.

The Metropolitan Police Sergeant says to Angel, “The figures have gone a little…squiffy… in your absence. It has to be said.”

Video clip from the film "Hot Fuzz" for COVID-19 post
Click to watch the “squiffy figures” clip from the movie “Hot Fuzz.” And if you haven’t seen the full film, you should.

In the case of U.S. coronavirus/COVID-19 figures, every red state is a London, but the red states’ number manipulators are in no way Angels and the statistics are not likely to go up in accordance with reality.

To put it plainly, I conspiracy theorize that red states are going to squiffify – hold down – coronavirus infection and COVID-19 death statistics.

They must, you see, because when the cases and deaths spike upward as the scientists and medical experts have predicted, those red-state governors are going to look STUPID, and their fearless leader, the #OrangeMenace, is going to look STUPIDER, still.

No, for those red-state governors, coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths definitely need to go down or at minimum remain flat. Otherwise, pesky journalists and – gasp! – voters are going to start asking uncomfortable questions and connecting uncomfortable dots.

Elections Amid a COVID-19 Pandemic

Gubernatorial elections are being held in 11 states this year, including seven with republican governors – Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia. Of those seven, five have already reopened. New Hampshire will reopen very soon. What Vermont’s governor will do remains to be seen. And the other 19 red-state governors will be up for re-election at some point.

It might not matter. If the other six red states are like North Dakota, where I live, their governors could shoot someone dead on the “Fifth Avenue” of their capital cities and still get re-elected. Which, in a horrific sense, is what they’re doing by loosening COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines too soon.

More importantly to Trump supporters, though, is that Dear Leader is up for re-election, and if he’s proven wrong (again), well… shoot, they’ll have to sic Fox News on the situation.

COVID-19 cartoon by Matt Davies for Newsday
Matt Davies created this COVID-19 cartoon for Newsday.

A Nearly Baseless Basis

Why do I believe they’re going to suppress the figures? Mess with the numbers. Squiffify the statistics?

First, because Republicans have shown their willingness to twist reality over and over again. “Alternative facts,” anyone? Impeachment debate, anyone else?

Second, because the Trump administration is keeping as much as possible about the pandemic response secret. It’s impossible to track what you can’t see or hear.

And, finally, for the same reason I believe Trump screwed up testing at the beginning of this crisis and continues to do so. More tests equal more confirmed coronavirus cases equal more deaths attributed to COVID-19 equal less of a chance of getting re-elected.

To be blunt, rising numbers would mean that when republican governors decided to reopen so quickly they were wrong at best and at worst culpable in additional deaths.

And in red United States, that simply will not do.

Truth will once again be a casualty of the politics of pandemic, and we will never know the true cost of coronavirus and COVID-19 in the United States.

The Far-Left Wingnut Has Spoken

Yep, it’s a conspiracy theory, all right, if that’s what you want to call it. There is zero data to back it up, and there are neither sources to cite nor experts to testify. There’s only what I can see, the dots I can connect and, based on the red party’s track record, what I believe they will keep from the citizens they’re supposed to be serving.

Maybe it’ll happen, maybe it won’t, but like the assertion behind any good conspiracy theory, it could. And, again, like any good conspiracy theory, whether it does or doesn’t will be almost impossible to prove either way.

Even so, it has to be said:

Watch those red-state coronavirus and COVID-19 numbers closely, folks.

 

Updates:  The following stories lend credence to the theory:

May 7, 2020 – “Trump says doing too much coronavirus testing makes the US ‘look bad’ as he pushes for the country to reopen”

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