Editorial: Among governors, a refreshing shared message on COVID-19

  • "Mask up, Indiana," Gov. Eric Holcomb tells his state on a bipartisan video urging disease prevention.

    "Mask up, Indiana," Gov. Eric Holcomb tells his state on a bipartisan video urging disease prevention. Associated Press Photo

  • "Mask up, Illinois," Gov. J.B. Pritzker says on a bipartisan video urging disease prevention.

    "Mask up, Illinois," Gov. J.B. Pritzker says on a bipartisan video urging disease prevention.

 
Posted11/19/2020 1:00 AM

Governments in the Midwest have been at odds with one another over COVID-19 for much of 2020.

States tried to undercut one another in buying scarce personal protective equipment early in the pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker told U.S. lawmakers in July.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Chicago required travelers to self-quarantine for two weeks if they came from COVID-19 hot spots that at various points included 25 states and Puerto Rico.

But state and city borders are porous.

Travel bans are hard to enforce.

And extraordinary disasters are better dealt with by neighbors working together. That's a fact, but it's been a very elusive objective amid the schism in our nation surrounding the end of the Trump administration.

In the Midwest, on many facets in 2020, Illinois would go it alone.

That's a bad situation when our suburbs blend into Indiana and Wisconsin suburbs; when our neighbors are over a bridge or across an artificial line demarked only by a change in the pavement on a rural road.

That's why we were inordinately delighted by a call issued Wednesday by some Midwestern governors for people to take precautions to prevent disease spread over the Thanksgiving holiday.

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A bipartisan group from seven Midwestern states! That's refreshing.

Sure, Iowa and Missouri, once mentioned by Pritzker as places where Illinois residents concerned about COVID-19 should not go, were not represented.

And only the five Democrats participated in a virtual news conference after release of the statement featuring all seven separately on video.

Still, we'll take it as a hopeful step.

Pritzker, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, all Democrats, and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, both Republicans, released the joint video call.

Wear a mask, keep six feet apart, share Thanksgiving by Zoom, wash hands frequently, try not to share utensils and follow the advice of medical experts as a way to keep disease transmission down and protect doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, truck drivers and one another, the governors advise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"When it comes to fighting this virus, we are all on the same team," Whitmer says, before each governor in turn exhorts his or her state to "mask up."

It's reassuring to hear them speaking as one, even though areas where they differ are left unsaid.

Let's hope the governors can parlay their cooperative tone into sharing the hard work of defeating COVID-19 and putting our states' health and livelihoods back together.

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