As COVID cases among children continue to trend upward and the Maine CDC works to increase access to testing, Paul LePage has made it clear he does not support the Mills administration’s efforts to stem the rise and save lives. In fact, he wants more kids to contract the deadly disease. At a campaign stop last month, LePage minced no words about his dangerous approach, saying, “what you should do is let them all have it.”
LePage’s horrific plan is not unique–in fact, it is the exact same strategy used in Florida and Texas, whose COVID responses LePage recently dubbed “the gold standard.” In both states, governors suggested kids would just have to “deal with” COVID and passed orders banning COVID mitigation strategies in schools. child infection and death rates in those states have soared to some of the nation’s highest.
Here in Maine, LePage’s “gold standard” proposal has been met with due outrage. Maine Public and the Bangor Daily News said LePage’s “hands-off” approach flies in the face of evidence, pointing out that infected children can not only still spread the virus to vulnerable family members, but are themselves far from immune from serious illness. Mainers have gone further, describing LePage as “dead wrong” and offering “an absence of leadership.”
“Paul LePage's so-called plan to let Maine’s kids get COVID is utterly without empathy. It not only ignores science but also the human impact of the pandemic – the fear and helplessness felt when a child or loved one is sick with a deadly disease – feelings that all too many Mainers are familiar with," said Drew Gattine, Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. "And it’s no way to beat COVID. We can’t let LePage bring his dangerous public health strategies back to the Blaine House.”
Under Governor Janet Mills, Maine has had one of the lowest death and case rates in the nation, including the case and death rates among children. LePage was a disaster for the state’s public health. During his eight years as governor, he “decimated” Maine’s public health system, creating and refusing to fill vacancies through Maine’s public health authority. He also blocked more than 70,000 Mainers from accessing health insurance, even going as far as to reject the results of a referendum that would have expanded Medicaid in the state.