- Jerry Bennett
The universe keeps writing punchlines for Gov. Kevin Stitt.
Three months after being the first governor in the country to contract COVID-19, Stitt came bursting out of the gate last week with another one of his five-minute ideas: the Oklahoma Pandemic Center for Innovation & Excellence.
Two days in a row after the announcement, the state broke its record for daily positive tests counts.
How State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye, Secretary of Health and Mental Health Kevin Corbett, Secretary of Science and Innovation Elizabeth Pollard, Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur and Stitt himself kept a straight face during their announcement video, we’ll never know. We sure as hell couldn’t.
“This center will allow us to detect, respond and monitor global health pandemics right here in rural Oklahoma,” Frye said.
Frye has a great track record of that, with one White House Coronavirus Task Force report after another putting Oklahoma in the red zone for infectious spread. In other words, the brain trust who thinks they’re going to keep their finger on the pulse on a global pandemic currently has a patient bleeding out on the table.
“We believe in building a top ten state,” Stitt said.
Well, he got part of that right. As of Oct. 4, Oklahoma holds the tenth slot on the national ranking of new cases per 100,000 people.
If Stitt, Frye and the rest of the clown car tasked with “pandemic excellence” want to excel at becoming a global leader in pandemic intelligence, they can just employ their model for Oklahoma: Hide information. Lie about it. Do absolutely nothing about it. Or they can go for broke next time and, at the first sign of a pandemic, just set the damn center on fire. It can’t be any worse than their COVID-19 strategy.