By State House Minority Whip Tim Dukes
It is time for the governor to end his State of Emergency declaration.
Under Delaware law, the governor has an unconstrained and autonomous ability to declare a State of Emergency. This initial declaration can last up to 30 days, after which the chief executive can renew the declaration for another 30 days for as many times as he or she wishes.
Governor John Carney first imposed a State of Emergency in Delaware on March 12, 2020 to cope with COVID-19. Since then, he has renewed the declaration 15 times, the last of which was done on May 14th. It is expected the governor will issue his 16th renewal shortly.
I and my colleagues in the House Republican Caucus are calling for the governor to end this cycle.
Sixteen months ago, the governor was justified in taking bold action to deal with a public health threat that was largely unknown at the time. That is not the case today.
Every significant metric we use to track the impact of COVID-19 – hospitalizations, percent of persons testing positive, new positive cases – have been trending sharply downward for nearly two months. Currently, just 52 people are hospitalized due to the disease. Less than 30% of the 90-day highwater mark of 180 cases set on April 21st.
At the same time, about 62% of all Delaware adults (over the age of 18) have received at least one dose of vaccine. The groups most at-risk from COVID-19 complications are especially well protected. Ninety-one percent of senior citizens (the group accounting for 83% of all COVID fatalities) have been fully or partly inoculated. More than two-thirds of people age 50 to 64 — the demographic segment in which another 14% of COVID-related deaths have occurred – have received at least one dose.
Additionally, more than 10% of our population has had confirmed cases of COVID-19, acquiring some level of natural resistance to the virus, regardless of their vaccination status.
Emergency orders aside, Delawareans have moved on. They are congregating freely, going to public events, shopping, and engaging in all manner of collective activity – largely without social distancing or the use of masks.
The State of Emergency has outlived its usefulness and there is little data to justify its continuance. It is time to end it, now.
This article was originally posted in the Delaware Republican House Newsletter issued on June 21.