CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Governor Mark Gordon took a more direct and confrontational tone at a press briefing Wednesday afternoon addressing some Wyomingites’ attitudes toward COVID-19.
“When somebody sends me a note that says ‘these people were going to die anyway, they’re just dying sooner,’ I gotta say, I’m offended,” Gordon said. “I think most people would be offended by the notion that ‘people should just get this COVID-19 and get it out of the way.’ I’m sick and tired of that.”
According to the Casper-Star Tribune, a school board trustee in Natrona County expressed similar sentiments at a board meeting last week. “We’ve had 21 deaths in Wyoming. Most of those were people with pre-existing conditions or in old folks homes,” said Kevin Christopherson said during the board’s Wednesday night meeting. “They were going to die. They just died sooner.”
Christopherson has since apologized for his remarks.
Gordon’s briefing came on the heels of news from the Wyoming Department of Health that a Sweetwater County man had died from COVID-19 complications. Gordon said he “grieve[s] along with the families any of these people who die.”
The state’s COVID-19 dashboard now rates the number of new cases and the number of COVID-19 admissions reported by hospitals as “concerning.”
There have been more than 1,600 lab-confirmed cases in Wyoming since the pandemic started, according to the Wyoming Department of Health. Twenty-two people have died from COVID-19-related complications. The state has seen 700 new cases this month.
Gordon re-emphasized that statewide health orders have been extended through July 31 due to current trends. Another shut-down, he said, would not come from a government order, but instead “because the entire staff is sick.”
Gordon again encouraged Wyoming residents and visitors to wear face coverings in public, though he said he was “not inclined to do a statewide order.” He pushed back against those who antagonize businesses and “argue the constitutionality of it.”
“I think that those people ought to read Federalist No. 10 or Federalist No. 84 and understand really what the damn Constitution said,” he said. “The Constitution said if it’s my property and I don’t want you coming in without a mask on, by god we’ll fix that. So I think those Republican principles that we count on are ones that ought to be respected.”
“There is no constitutional right to go infect somebody else,” Gordon continued. “There is no constitutional right that says you can put others in harm’s way.”
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