By Jeb Bladine • President / Publisher • 

Jeb Bladine: It’s November, and COVID still is news

Famously, in October, President Donald Trump delighted political rally crowds by rejecting legitimacy and dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic. “They prolonged the pandemic,” he said. “That’s all I hear about now. It’s all I hear. By the way, on Nov. 4, you won’t hear about it anymore.”

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Jeb Bladine is president and publisher of the News-Register.

> See his column

“They,” for Trump, appeared to mean Democrats and the media. But it turns out, after national spikes in cases, hospitalizations and deaths, COVID-19 still is in the news.

In Oregon, the state targeted nine counties with new “two-week pause” mandates and limitations on social gatherings and other COVID-spread safeguards. Yamhill County would have qualified with a one-week delay in those calculations and, at this writing, state health officials haven’t responded to questions about additions to the list.

Unfortunately, that’s an all-too-common situation.

Even more unfortunately, COVID-19 became tangled with presidential politics in ways we may never fully understand. Here are a few election observations that admittedly lack complete context:

In 20 states with the highest overall number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, voters in 17 of them — including all top 12 — supported President Trump over Joe Biden. Voters backed Biden in 9 of 10 states with last week’s lowest case counts per 100,000 population; Trump won pluralities in 13 of 15 states with the highest ratios last week.

Perhaps smaller, more rural states have high COVID-19 ratios due to cultural and lifestyle factors; perhaps large city populations are more responsive to peer pressure about masks and social distancing; or perhaps, the president was very effective in convincing his supporters that COVID-19 is at least a partial scam.

One person so convinced is newly reelected state Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, who this week returned to online newsletters following the campaign-season blackout. His message includes claims that Gov. Kate Brown “has gone from a power-hungry politician to a dictator;” that COVID-19 case counts are fraudulently misrepresented by false-positive test results; that the “Mainstream Media” has become the “State-Run Media.”

“Mainstream Media” today, of course, would include Fox News and CNN alike. Apparently it’s OK for mainstream media to be one-sided, but only if it’s the preferred side.

Sen. Boquist urges readers to connect with a new, anonymous website for unbiased news. We will consider reporting about that website when its operators find the courage to identify themselves and their sources – you know, like they do in the mainstream media.

It seems a matter of time before COVID-19 vaccines are tagged as a socialist mind-control plot.

Jeb Bladine can be reached at jbladine@newsregister.com or 503-687-1223.

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