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Governor defends actions to slow spread of COVID-19

By Stephen Betts | May 23, 2020
Maine Gov. Janet Mills

Augusta — Gov. Janet Mills defended the state's efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Mills spoke Friday, May 22, along with Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah to update the public on the outbreak.

Mills said 22% of Mainers are older than 65 years old, a group that is at high risk of suffering serious outcomes if they contract the new virus. But in addition to elderly people, there are people with pre-existing conditions who are at great risk, the governor said.

33% of Maine residents have high blood pressure, 11% have diabetes, 11% have asthma, and 42% have some degree of obesity, the governor noted. Those conditions make those people at risk from the virus.

"Pretending that the vulnerable people can stay home and people who live with vulnerable people can stay home is not realistic and not fair," Gov. Mills said.

She said the steps taken are to slow the spread of the virus. That includes the quarantine order for out-of-state visitors, and restrictions on large gatherings and physical distance requirements. Those requirements, however, are largely enforced on an honor system.

The state leaders pointed out that masks help you prevent the spread of the virus and keeps others from spreading the virus.

Shah responded to a question about comparing COVID-19 to the seasonal flu.

The CDC director said seasonal influenza is a seriousness illness that claims many lives each year. But, he pointed out, current statistics show that COVID-19 has a mortality rate five to 10 times greater than the seasonal flu. The new virus spreads two to three times more than the seasonal flu.

"Put those two things together and you have what we have today — a global pandemic," Shah said.

The governor made a statement on Memorial Day and talked about the challenges the state and country have faced and how society will be able to meet the challenge of COVID-19.

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | May 24, 2020 09:38

This is how one local congregation will be opening up their building for services.  To me, they seem to be setting an excellent example during the transition.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | May 23, 2020 09:53

Did the Governor just say "42% of Mainers have some degree of obesity " ?  So almost half of all Maine residents are overweight ?  Well keeping us inside gouging on home delivery  Pizza and take out Chinese , will certainly not help this situation any, although we may see the population increase in 9 months.  She is of course correct in her assessment, however unbearable it might be.  This is a fine line we are walking here, but as the weather improves it is going to be much harder to quiet the restless natives.

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