Public health advisers to Democrat nominee Joe Biden have openly floated a four to six-week national lockdown if Biden is ultimately declared the winner of the 2020 election.
However, Biden is already facing pushback from Republican governors that have declared they will not comply. Both South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves have declared in recent days that they will not enforce a new COVID-19 lockdown regardless of Biden’s desires.
Noem — who never fully locked down her state even at the height of the pandemic — said on Friday that enforcement of a national lockdown or federal mask mandate is out of the question in her freedom-loving state.
A statement from Noem’s office provided to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reads:
It’s a good day for freedom. Joe Biden realizes that the president doesn’t have the authority to institute a mask mandate. For that matter, neither does Governor Noem, which is why she has provided her citizens with the full scope of the science and trusted them to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved-ones.
Gov. Reeves issued a similar statement on Thursday, declaring that he won’t enforce any federally-mandated lockdowns in an effort to preserve his state’s economy.
“The people of Mississippi can’t just go home, shut down their small business, shut down their restaurants, shut down their gyms,” Reeves said. “And just think that you can come back six weeks from now, flip a switch, and everything’s gonna be fine. That’s not the way the economy works.”
Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota expert on infectious diseases and one of Biden’s potential coronavirus task force members, said last week that a strict four to six-week lockdown could control the spread of the virus and protect the economy.
Osterholm postulated that the federal government could bail out businesses forced to shut down yet again, pointing out Australia and New Zealand as the model for an ideal COVID-19 response.
Biden himself has spoken positively about national mask mandates and extended lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19, putting much of the US on edge as the winner of last week’s election is decided.