Jim Hartman: Nevada’s COVID response ranked near bottom


jim hartmann
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An extensive “State Pandemic Scorecard” placed Nevada tied for 48th – with Mississippi – in the state’s overall COVID response rankings. Only Wyoming ranked worse than Nevada in handling COVID issues, according to the report.
The dashboard pulled together what was known so far about how states fared during the pandemic and how the choices made by each state impacted its residents, businesses and schools. He grouped the information available for policy outcomes into four categories – health, economy, social welfare and education.
The full report was released Dec. 15 by Politico, the authoritative liberal-leaning political news publication. The scorecard showed big differences across the country, with state decisions having major impacts.
Nevada ranked 49th in the economy category, with Hawaii coming in at 50. The report noted that states that rely on tourism have been deeply affected by the pandemic.
Governor Steve Sisolak’s draconian lockdown orders in March 2020 have been devastating to Nevada’s economy.
In February 2020, Nevadans were celebrating an all-time low unemployment rate of 3.6%. In April 2020, Nevada set the highest unemployment rate on record – 30.5%. This is higher than during the Great Depression. It also caused the collapse of the state unemployment insurance system.
In 2021, Nevada’s monthly unemployment rate was consistently the highest in the nation. The state unemployment rate fell to 6.8% in the November report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but it is still the second highest state unemployment rate in the United States. United after neighboring California.
Southern Nevada’s hospitality and casino industry has been particularly hard hit. Casinos closed in March 2020 remained closed until June 2020.
David Schmidt, Nevada’s chief economist, told the Nevada Independent that the gaming industry in the Clark County area is now at a level of 65% from its pre-COVID employment peak. There are 66,200 fewer workers employed in casinos and hotels than before the pandemic.
The Sisolak closures also destroyed many small “non-essential” businesses, shutting them down permanently. Its arbitrary capacity orders fluctuated wildly from 50% to 25% and then back to 50%, making it difficult for businesses to plan and comply.
Nevada ranked 12th nationally in the Politico Report’s social welfare category, based on measures of food insecurity, household economic hardship and violent crime.
It should be noted that crime is on the rise in Nevada. Statistics released by Las Vegas Metro show murders are up 49% from 2020. As of December 17, Metro reported 143 murders committed in 2021 in Las Vegas.
Nevada ranked 35th for health issues, although the report concludes that “states with better health outcomes tend to be led by moderate Democratic or Republican governors who impose health restrictions and reopen slowly. “.
Sisolak’s onerous mask warrants in traditionally libertarian Nevada have contributed to angry recall efforts against him. Its indoor masking requirement for all people over the age of nine, regardless of their vaccination status, will continue until early 2022.
Critics note that even California Governor Gavin Newsom had a more limited indoor masking requirement. It only applied to the unvaccinated.
Nevada also received low scores for education, ranked 41st, with that score derived from changes in reading and math assessments from each state’s pre-pandemic baseline through spring 2021.
In education, a Reno Gazette Journal analysis of K-12 proficiency exams and state financial reports found that Nevada students were doing worse on most tests than they did in 2000, when the state was spending 79% less per student.
Under Sisolak’s direction, schools in Clark County remained closed for an entire school year.
The Politico “State Pandemic Scorecard” ranking Nevada second to last in its COVID response bolsters the case for Republican gubernatorial opponents against the politically vulnerable incumbent.
In his gubernatorial announcement, former U.S. Senator Dean Heller accused Sisolak of putting Nevada “at the top of every bad list in America, including unemployment rates, crime rates, graduation rates and suicide rates”.
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo took to the Politico report to criticize Sisolak’s handling of the COVID pandemic in Nevada.
Jim Hartman lives in Genoa. Email [email protected]


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