It appears this week will be the last week Ricketts will be doing press conferences, and we think we know why. It is obvious that Ricketts is having a very hard time pretending to give a shit about Nebraskans anymore, and he is becoming increasingly angry and flustered at being questioned about his horrible decisions and worse leadership. Here we go:
- Follow good hygiene. Wearing a mask is “always a good idea”
- Sign up for Test Nebraska. It is totally free and we pinkie swear we are not selling your data or giving it to the cops.
- The moratorium on evictions expires June 1 and Ricketts will not extend it. He said unemployment payments are going out, as well as the $600 per week and the $1200 stimulus checks so everyone should be able to pay rent. Note: as of last Friday, over 11,000 Nebraskans still had not received a single dime of their unemployment money, never mind the $600 per week. Speaking personally, I just got my $1200 check last week and it had already been spent for a month. Just because you get a $1200 check does not mean you have $1200, especially if you have been out of work for two months. That measly $1200 doesn’t mean shit in the grand scheme of things.
- Ricketts also suggested that you reach out to your community collaborative for help if you are being evicted because they work on this stuff “all year round”.
- When further pressed about evictions, he mentioned that the federal government has given $10million to *homeless shelters*. Because of course the solution is to put more pressure on the community helpers who are already struggling rather than touching one cent of his and his buddies hoarded wealth.
- Dr. Anthone takes the (unsanitized) podium to talk about Douglas County hospital numbers which he says are “very, very stable” (presumably as stable as the very very stable genius whose boots he licks) despite the fact that there are 13 more folks with COVID hospitalized this week than last week. We are now down to 29% bed availability and 24% ICU bed availability in Douglas County. Previously Ricketts had stated they would only ease restrictions if 30% bed availability remained, but he did give himself the caveat to lower that “if numbers look good” which makes no sense, but what else do you expect from him. Ventilator availability is down to 59% from 76% last week. We have not flattened the curve. The curve is a spike, and it is going straight up.
- If you see someone “breaking the rules”, talk to them about it, or call your pal the Mayor who surely has nothing better to do than to micromanage people because the big bald baby in the Governor’s office refuses to issue easy to follow mandates that would have saved lives.
- A reporter pointed out that Ricketts has targeted those with larger households as being the reason COVID has spread in those communities and asked him if he thought his choice of words stigmatized those communities. His answer was that large households aren’t limited to the meatpacking industry and that if you have older people living in your multigenerational home you should go live in one of the quarantine dorms at UNK or UNO.
- Ricketts was asked what he is doing to get Test Nebraska to 3000 tests per day and he randomly pointed out that he gave everyone Sunday and Monday off and that they were now back at work and pushing to get to 3000 tests per day. As usual, he completely avoided the question.
- A constituent said they were concerned about a family member at Life Care Center in Elkhorn and wanted it shut down and their family member moved to a competent facility. Ricketts said they are working on “best practices” and that it was better for the folks to be in “familiar surroundings” and that they will not shut the facility down as long as they have staff available. He suggested that person just move their family member home and take care of them themselves.
- Someone asked if he could confirm that Senator Mike Moser was hospitalized with COVID and Ricketts said that he couldn’t confirm because, “I read about it just like you did”. And then he laughed.
- It was pointed out that Ricketts has stated over and over that the whole point of “flattening the curve” (which absolutely is not happening) was to keep the health care system stable, yet numbers are rising daily. Ricketts said this was because people who had put off going to the hospital for other reasons were no longer putting it off. As if *who* is taking up the hospital beds matters. It doesn’t matter. Our hospitals are full.
- Dr. Anthone, not wearing a mask, takes the unsanitized podium again to talk about Lancaster County hospital numbers. In Lancaster County 50% of the hospital beds and 59% of ICU beds are available.
- Martha Stoddard asked if we have the necessary staffing available in ICUs and Dr. Anthone said his own son is an OR nurse who has been given the training to be an ICU nurse, and that all anesthesiologists “have worked in” ICUs so they are also being transferred to work in ICUs. He also said nurses may be taking care of 2 or 3 patients rather than just one, and that they can get help with things like running IVs and turning patients and other things that do not require training. Raise your hand if you think you can run an IV or turn a delicate and deathly ill patient without any training, I guess they’ll take you at Dr. Anthone’s hospitals.
- The numbers for Test Nebraska were requested and neither Ricketts nor Dr. Anthone had them. For a daily press conference. That they *knew* they needed these numbers for. Why do you suppose they didn’t have those numbers? We presume for the same reason Ricketts will not be doing press conferences after this week. Test Nebraska is failing miserably, criminally even, and Ricketts doesn’t want to talk about it.
- Inmates are not being tested because they are an “isolated population” and “they are not going anywhere”. So he doesn’t give a shit if they all die, as long as they do it in prison where he can’t see them. Same with the elders in the care facilities I guess.
- He gave a shoutout to some parasitic insurance company named Medica because they are going to deposit $15million of their reserves into community banks. Why does an insurance company have $15 million in reserves? How much was your last doctor bill? How much do you and your employer pay your insurance company (if you are lucky enough to have an employer who pays part of it)? Ricketts is just so so grateful to these scumbags for depositing this $15million because it can then be *loaned out* to struggling Nebraskans who will be charged horrific interest and have their property seized if they can’t pay it back.
It is worth noting that Ricketts and Anthone also did not have the Test Nebraska numbers when asked about them last Friday. All Ricketts could say was that Test Nebraska has “increased testing” and that is “a good thing” even though Test Nebraska tests have a vastly lower positive rate and are probably just actual trash. Last Friday Ricketts was also asked about a letter signed by 11 Senators requesting that CARES money go to help those being evicted and he said he *wasn’t aware* of such a letter and that we should “stay tuned”. As of yesterday he still had not addressed it. Incidentally, he also admitted last week to using CARES money to run ads for Test Nebraska, which it most certainly was not intended for. He couldn’t say how much of the CARES money has been spent. More “gems” from last week:
- According to Dr. Anthone “there is no right or wrong time to reopen. Sooner or later we have to lift restrictions. It’s what I do every day. I’m not worried about it right now.”
- Test Nebraska is meeting benchmarks, just not the 3000 tests/a day benchmark (insert eyeroll emoji)
- “You cannot dispute that we are testing more people and you should be happy about that” – Ricketts
- If hospitals need more ICU nurses they can go to a staffing agency – Anthone
- Ricketts thinks it’s great that Trump is supporting houses of worship by telling them all to open
- Test Nebraska could test more people if only more people would sign up. (How many of you have tried to get a testing slot through Test Nebraska are were denied? According to Ricketts himself, 150,000 have signed up for Test Nebraska but only 12,000 people have been tested, according to the vague, approximate number he gave last Friday. No confirmable, solid numbers at all)
- According to Dr. Anthone, the rapidly shrinking hospital bed availability is not what we should be paying attention to. “The real data is talking to colleagues and asking what they are feeling, and nobody is feeling really overwhelmed”. “I could look at numbers all day – the real feeling is talking to doctors”.
- “we can loosen restrictions if you wear a mask to events” – Ricketts
- PEUC (program to pay additional 13 weeks of unemployment to those whose 26 weeks were exhausted) was just implemented Memorial Weekend. This is yet more people we have just learned about who have gone without any income for months
- Ricketts has set up an email address so businesses can narc out their workers who rightfully do not want to return to work because it is not safe for them to do so. That email address is NDOL@UIworkrefusal.gov . Please feel free to let them know how you feel about employers who care more about their money than about their workers.
- John Albin admitted there are still 11,559 Nebraskans who have not received a single penny of their unemployment. Ricketts said if you haven’t received your payment yet it’s probably your own fault for doing something wrong.
- Ricketts was asked if he met with meatpacking workers and he said he met with them by phone but he doesn’t remember who he met with or which plant they worked for.
- DHMs do not specify what a public gathering is.
- Dr. Anthone told overworked, underpaid, and ill-equipped hospital staff to “hang in there”.
- Paul Hammel – “Isn’t it a given that you will see more infections and deaths” with the loosened restrictions? Ricketts – “You can’t stop a virus! It’s not realistic to say you don’t want anyone to die.” Hammel asked how much it weighed on him and Ricketts said “people die in traffic accidents all the time.”
- If you see 50 people partying, you are supposed to approach them and ask them to stop. If they won’t stop, you should call the Mayor.
- “People won’t forget the rules. We need voluntary compliance. Not enough cops to sit on every doorstep”. – Ricketts
There are so many more awful things that have been said during these press conferences, and perhaps some day we will get them all written up. We are extremely alarmed that it appears this will be the last week Ricketts will be doing these press conferences. Ricketts refuses to be held accountable, and now he is refusing to even be questioned.