Lt. Gov. Green Issues Warning Letter to America’s Governors
Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, who also works as an emergency room physician issued a warning letter to America’s governors today, urging them to take action now to prevent further COVID spread and prevent further hospitalizations and death.
In his letter, Lt. Gov. Green said many of the country’s governors are “failing to lead.” “We are at a moment as a country when our leaders must do what we elected them to do— tell us the truth, put politics aside, stop rationalizing policies and rhetoric that puts lives in danger, and do what is right for the people they serve,” he said.
He noted that the pandemic has now killed more “more Americans than the influenza pandemic of 1918-1920, and almost as many as the total number lost to HIV/AIDS since 1981.”
His letter urged four steps for action now to address the healthcare crisis.
His full letter was posted to his social media accounts and is included below:
A Warning to America’s GovernorsSeptember 25, 2021
(by Lt. Gov. Josh Green)
America is now facing a healthcare crisis like we have never seen before.
Never before have we endured a pandemic that has killed more than 685,000 of our people, with conditions worsening and no end in sight across large parts of our country.
By comparison, COVID has now killed more Americans than the devastating influenza pandemic of 1918-1920, and almost as many as the total number lost to HIV/AIDS since 1981.
Never in our history have multiple states at the same time imposed ‘crisis standards of care’, or statewide rationing of emergency healthcare.‘
Crisis standards of care’ means that under emergency conditions when there are not enough resources to care for every patient, providers can ration care, delivering care first to those most likely to survive with treatment rather than those most likely to die without it.
Idaho, which currently has the lowest vaccination rate in the country, was the first state to impose rationing of care on September 16. The infection rate has surged there in recent weeks, especially among the unvaccinated, who make up 90% of those hospitalized with COVID and 98% of those in intensive care at St. Luke’s hospital in Boise. But while infection rates were increasing to a dangerous level, Idaho’s governor failed to impose restrictions to slow spread or meaningfully increase vaccination rates.
Alaska, where about 1 in 5 people now hospitalized statewide has COVID, was the next state to announce crisis standards of care on September 22.
We can’t wait any longer for many governors to do everything possible to fight COVID. When our elected leaders clearly and consistently fail to protect people and do everything they can to prevent unnecessary suffering and death in a pandemic that has killed nearly 700,000 Americans, we have no choice but to call them out, urge them to do what is right, and issue a stark warning.
Our country’s governors are rational and well informed. I believe that they are good and decent people who entered public service for the right reasons.
But these governors also know the facts. They know that vaccination helps prevent COVID infection and spread, greatly reduces the severity of breakthrough infections, and cuts the risk of hospitalization and death when infection does occur. They know that masking and limiting gatherings reduces spread, especially among the unvaccinated.
Right now many of our country’s governors are simply failing to lead. We are at a moment as a country when our leaders must do what we elected them to do— tell us the truth, put politics aside, stop rationalizing policies and rhetoric that puts lives in danger, and do what is right for the people they serve.
Some of our governors are simply afraid to be direct and honest with the people in their states, and with forceful urgency tell them the truth about what will prevent COVID infection, slow its spread, and prevent hospitalization and death.
Every governor in our country must immediately do everything possible right now to prevent and slow the spread of COVID in their states, including:
- Urge the people in your state to get vaccinated now, and tell them the truth— that vaccination is the safest, cheapest, fastest, and most effective way to prevent infection, spread, hospitalization, and death from COVID. Tell them that getting vaccinated can save their lives, the lives of people they love, and the lives of their neighbors who may be denied care if hospitals are full and have to turn away the sick and injured.
- Reach out to federal agencies now for support, resources, and personnel to fight COVID, including FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Use every facility and source of funds available, including CARES Act money, to build emergency care capacity and hire more health professionals before infections overwhelm your hospitals, if necessary.
- Stop rationalizing failure to do everything possible to stop COVID spread with the excuse that vaccination is “a personal choice” or that masking tramples on “freedom,” and stop spreading, enabling, or countenancing in any way misinformation and falsehoods about vaccination, the infectiousness and lethality of COVID, and the effectiveness of quack treatments like ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine, for which there is no scientific evidence that they are effective in preventing, treating, curing, or slowing the spread of COVID.
At this moment, there are over 86,000 people hospitalized with COVID in our country and over 130,000 new cases every day, with the majority of them among the unvaccinated, in states with the lowest vaccination rates.
If governors across our country fail to lead at this moment, and fail to find the political courage to speak clearly, honestly, and forcefully to their people about the urgent need to be vaccinated against COVID right now, then our country will see a wave of states one after another rationing live-saving care in the coming weeks, and the death toll will be staggering.
I urge our country’s governors to do what is right for the people of their states, put politics aside, and save as many lives as they can now, before it’s too late.
If they can find the courage and the will to act, and to tell the truth to the unvaccinated and vulnerable people they lead, they can show themselves to be true leaders and prevent an even greater loss of American lives.
Dr. Josh Green
Lt. Governor of Hawaiʻi
Emergency Room Physician