Nevada is years away from healing COVID wounds, report says



(The Center Square) – A newly released report from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (NV DHHS) said it may take a long time to recover from the economic, education and behavioral health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While states have comparable stories, Nevada had over 900,000 cases, and more than 12,000 people died in the state. Meanwhile, businesses were shuttered, especially in 2020, after Gov. Steve Sisolak declared a state of emergency. Jobs and wages suffered as a result. The damage was so extensive that researchers say “most industrial sectors were negatively impacted by the number of jobs and wages that were lost due to these closures.” Even though remote learning helped combat the spread of COVID-19, NV DHHS said it caused problems for school-age children.

“The impact of remote learning can be seen through student’s assessment results on the NAEP and the ACT,” says the report. “Symptoms of the Disease: The Epidemiological, Economic, and Public Health Impacts of COVID-19 on the Battle Born State.”

Students in elementary school had the biggest problems, with scores dropping just over six points for fourth graders. Middle and high school students were also found to have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, but NV DHHS says it was not to the same extent.

Geoffrey Lawrence, Director of Research at Nevada Policy Research Institute, said restrictions on personal freedom implemented by then-Gov. Steve Sisolak represented a panicked attempt by his administration to respond to one type of risk while ignoring all other risks.

“In reality, we live in a world of numerous uncertainties, but people have been able to adapt to these uncertainties by developing elaborate, entrepreneurial systems to produce and deliver to people the things they need to overcome the challenges presented by the natural world,” said Lawrence.

In pre-modern times, Lawrence says pestilence, famine and disease were all quite common events, to say nothing of the reduced quality of life individuals experienced for lack of education, individual rights, or material abundance. Nevada’s response to the pandemic harkened back to this pre-modernity by embracing what Lawrence calls “fear of a new uncertainty as a rationale to break all the systems society has developed” to grapple with these many other existing uncertainties.

“It’s therefore no surprise that economic uncertainty abounded, student achievement plummeted, deaths of despair surged, and hundreds of thousands of previously self-sufficient Nevadans were left to rely on a dysfunctional public support system that couldn’t even process claims timely just to meet their basic needs,” said Lawrence. “A better role for government during COVID would always have been to advise and inform of the risks inherent with the disease so that free individuals could take the precautions they deemed necessary.”

For example, Lawrence said it was known very early on that people had different risk profiles based on things such as age and health status. They also had different risk tolerance. Because of this, Lawrence argues that an informed populace would have been able to weigh this new risk against a wide variety of existing risks we all face on a daily basis.

“Elderly individuals and those with existing comorbidities could have been encouraged to take extra precaution, without prohibiting young children from attending school, for instance.”

Read the Black Chronicle Black History Edition for Free! Click Below

Read the Black Chronicle Black History Edition for Free! Click Below



Share post:


More like this