Last week Governor de Santis of Florida threatened to withhold funding (and salaries) from local superintendents and school board members who disregarded his executive order, effectively prohibiting mask mandates in local school districts. The order came in the face of the Fort Lauderdale-Broward County’s school district vote to require masks. The President immediately interceded -- promising federal funds to cover local salaries. Some days later, the Governor seems to have backtracked. But conflict between local, state, and federal powers to regulate pandemic conduct has rooted and is spreading. Interestingly, this is nothing new. Pandemics invite politics, often including scientifically apathetic politicians. Exactly 129 years ago, it happened like this:
Should we open up the economy immediately or remain on lockdown indefinitely until a vaccine is made? Believe it or not, there are other options. It's too bad that society isn't smart enough to understand that.
Forbes Matthew Herper, who has been regularly covering the Ebola story since it broke, recently presented an in-print debate concerning the best way to handle this potentially scary situation.