What exactly is going on in masked up New Mexico? According to the COVID charts, cases are on the rise in a state that has a statewide mask mandate. Are residents letting down their guard? Have residents gone inside where they’re passing COVID to vaccinated grandma?
In a state where there’s a full mask mandate and 62.5% of the population is fully vaccinated — 72.9% have had at least one dose — an average of 1,076 COVID cases are being detected.
So why, with all these precautions taken by the state government, are numbers on the rise? Albuquerque TV station KOAT asked that question in early November.
“Maybe there’s waning immunity and booster vaccines could help in that,” Dr. Denise A. Gonzales of the Presbyterian Medical Group said. “We do know there aren’t enough people primarily vaccinated — that definitely plays a role. There may be a role due to the delta variant and that we have 100% delta in New Mexico.”
New Mexico, one of only six states in the US with an active mask mandate for those who are vaccinated and unvaccinated, has the highest case growth rate in the country
Strangely, I haven’t seen anyone in the media asking The Experts™ to explain why this is happening pic.twitter.com/E7LZ47JtJz
— IM (@ianmSC) November 8, 2021
Meanwhile, the Democratic governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, spent last week patting herself on the back over her response to COVID. Grisham reinstated a mask mandate in August as delta variant cases flared up across the state. The cases, as you can see from the chart, fell for a few weeks, but have continued to rise from late October into November.
“If New Mexico truly was on the leading edge of prevention and vaccination, then why is our state one of only a handful with a forced mask mandate?” New Mexico House Minority Leader Jim Townsend (R) told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “Even California, the state that Lujan Grisham desperately seeks approval from, has lifted mask mandates for vaccinated citizens.”
New Mexico’s current mask mandate expires November 12, but many expect it to continue on as the state’s case numbers rise. Townsend says Lujan Grisham is “addicted to this crisis and unlimited power.”
We delivered for New Mexicans all while implementing one of the most successful responses to COVID-19 in the world, saving tens of thousands of New Mexican lives. This is what putting Government to work for the people looks like.
— Michelle Lujan Grisham (@Michelle4NM) November 5, 2021
Why is Lujan Grisham focused on COVID and claiming to have saved thousands of lives? Probably because she doesn’t want people to focus on the state’s unemployment rate, which is one of the worst in the nation.
In September, the unemployment rate in New Mexico (6.9%) dipped below 7% for the first time since March, but the state remains squarely in the hunt for the highest unemployment rate in the United States. Nevada currently owns that distinction at 7.5%; New Jersey, New York and California are all in a battle with New Mexico to see which state can beat out Nevada.
The state has seen 40% of small businesses close since the start of the pandemic.