In a press conference on May 12, Governor Jay Inslee unveiled plans for a statewide contact tracing initiative.
“[The initiative] is robust, it is vigorous and it is comprehensive, and it needs to be all three to be successful,” Inslee declared. “If we do not succeed in this second stage of our efforts, this virus could come bright back and bite us.”
Inslee claimed that the state has achieved early success in its fight against the Wuhan virus. This tracing initiative represents the next phase of the state’s campaign against containing the Wuhan virus’ spread. Initially, social distancing was the main tool against the virus. Once the state starts making attempts to open the economy, contact tracing and isolation of individuals who test positive will be the next phase of the state’s plan.
“If this is successful, it will allow us to open our economy,” Inslee said. “This next stage… actually will be more difficult, and its success will depend on both the state and local public health officials and families who will need to be committed to this effort to help their community.”
Inslee’s plan was titled “Contact Tracing: Box in The Virus.”
Contact tracing consists of interviewing people who tested positive for the Wuhan virus in order to identify who they’ve been in contact with. From there, those close contacts will be tested and then instructed to isolate themselves and their immediate families.
Per the governor’s recommendations, people must self-quarantine for 14 days once they experience the initial symptoms.
Individuals who have closely interacted with infected individuals will be subject to quarantines until they receive negative tests, even if they did not test positive or demonstrate symptoms.
Contact tracers will inform those who may have caught the Wuhan virus within 24 to 48 hours of receiving a positive test result.
This entire effort will be a partnership between local health districts and the Washington State Department of health. Individuals should quarantine immediately upon first symptoms and stay quarantined until receiving a negative test result.
As for businesses and individuals who don’t comply, the governor said that they will face punishment in civil or criminal court.
In a video of the press conference, one reporter inquired: “When it comes to contact tracing, how are you guys going to handle people or families who want to refuse to test or to self isolate? If they want to leave their home to get groceries I know you’ve said they can’t do that; how will you make sure they don’t?“
We will have attached to the families a family support person who will check in with them to see what they need on a daily basis… and help them. If they can’t get a friend to do their grocery shopping, we will help get them groceries in some fashion. If they need pharmaceuticals to be picked up, we will make sure they get their pharmaceuticals… That’s going to help encourage them to maintain their isolation too.
As far as refusal, it just shouldn’t come to that, and it really hasn’t. We’ve had really good success when we ask people to isolate, and they’ve done so in really high percentages, so we’re happy about that, and we believe that will continue.
Mario Lotmore of the Lynnwood Times noted the following:
Therefore, those individuals that refuse to cooperate with contact tracers and/or refuse testing, those individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes to purchase basic necessities such as groceries and/or prescriptions. Those persons will need to make arrangements through friends, family, or a state provided ‘family support personnel.’
Will Josh Hawley be the Next Champion for an America First Foreign Policy?
America First May Have its Next Leader to End Wars Abroad
Does America First have a new non-interventionist champion?
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley has been viewed by many as one of the figures who could potentially lead a Trumpist movement after Trump, should Joe Biden end up being installed as president on January 2021.
Hawley has made a name for himself as a champion of Middle America and questioning the neoliberal orthodoxy on immigration and trade. Lately, Hawley has made a pivot towards questioning the interventionist conventional wisdom on foreign policy.
In early October of this year, the Missouri Senator called for the American government to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. Hawley tweeted, “Almost 20 years now in Afghanistan. Long past time to draw this war to an end.”
Hawley’s foreign policy has been a work progress over the past two years. During a 2019 speech Hawley gave at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), he questioned the nation-building policy prescriptions of previous administrations, demonstrating some degree of skepticism towards non-stop interventionism abroad on the part of the Senator.
That said, it remains to be seen if Hawley’s legislative record will fully match his rhetoric.
Hawley is a staunch China hawk, who fears the rise of China and is a strong voice against China’s expansionist efforts. Hawley’s track record shows that his foreign policy views are rough around the edges. Daniel Larison of The American Conservative is not as optimistic about Hawley judging by his votes on the Yemeni Civil War. Larison cited several of Hawley’s votes that may be cause for concern:
“Sen. Hawley voted against the Senate’s resolution of disapproval that opposed the president’s effort to circumvent Congress with a bogus “emergency” to expedite arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. More important, he voted with the president and most Senate Republicans against the antiwar Yemen resolution that would have cut off all U.S. support to the Saudi coalition.”
Nevertheless, Hawley’s comments on Afghanistan are a good sign that Hawley is catching on to the fact that Americans are tired of foreign wars. Politicians can change their views and behaviors. Hawley is likely recognizing that the America First movement is exhausted by the endless wars and wants candidates and elected officials who offer withdrawal plans.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) November 24, 2020
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a fierce interventionist skeptic, maintained cautious optimism about Hawley. In a tweet, he commented, “All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting.”
All kinds of reasons to be skeptical of the authenticity here, but — purely as a matter of rhetoric — just imagine any national Republican speaking this way about a Dem administration even 10 years ago. The framework of politics is radically shifting:https://t.co/0g3jpVPsDm
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 24, 2020
The jury is still out on Hawley. Regardless of flaws in his voting record, America First advocates should continue to push him and other America First leaning Republicans in the right direction. We should never forget that politicians are still receptive to political pressure and the grassroots holds the keys to political change.
Young senators like Hawley are the future of American politics and it makes sense for foreign policy restrainers to lobby them and push them in a direction that favors non-interventionism.
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