Missouri Gov. Mike Parson was widely criticized this week after saying kids would get COVID-19 at school and just “get over it,” despite evidence that school reopenings can trigger new outbreaks. Parson’s remarks are only the latest example of the governor ignoring public health advice at the expense of Missouri families and children.
“Gov. Parson’s crass comment about kids catching COVID-19 at school was a new low, but sadly nothing new for this unelected governor,” said Katie Parrish, spokesperson at American Bridge 21st Century. “Gov. Parson has thumbed his nose at expert medical advice throughout this pandemic and long before – refusing to back common sense policies proven to protect public health.”
- In March, the Missouri State Medical Association and over 100 doctors urged Gov. Parson to issue a stay-at-home order, but he refused and said, “I don’t believe I’m costing lives at all.”
- After national criticism, Gov. Parson issued a hollow 14-day stay-at-home order in April that allowed businesses to stay open. A professor of epidemiology called it “half-hearted effort” and the Missouri Medical Association expressed disappointment.
- The evidence is clear – wearing a mask can save lives, but Gov. Parson has repeatedly posted pictures of himself without a mask in public. When asked why he won’t wear a mask, he simply said, “I chose not to.”
- In July, Missouri’s largest physician and nursing organizations called on Gov. Parson to issue a mask mandate. Parson has repeatedly refused to, claiming it’s a matter of “freedom” and that those who “don’t want to wear a mask should have every right not to wear one.”
- With over 200,000 Missourians out of work, access to affordable health care has become critically important. The Missouri Hospital Assoc., Missouri State Medical Assoc., Missouri Nurses Assoc. and numerous doctors are all campaigning in support of the state’s Medicaid Expansion ballot initiative in August – a measure Gov. Parson staunchly opposes.