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VICTOR JOECKS: King Sisolak prepares to cancel Christmas

Santa needs to put King Steve Sisolak on his naughty list.

Christmas is just more than two weeks away. After a brutal year, it’s nice to have something to look forward to. Many happy memories have been made from families gathering around the Christmas tree and opening gifts.

But Sisolak will soon exchange his crown for the Grinch’s hat. He’s laid the groundwork to cancel Christmas, just like he tried to stop Thanksgiving.

“If this crisis continues to get worse, we will be left in the unfortunate position of having to take stronger actions,” he said last week.

Translated: No Christmas for you. What’s worse is that Sisolak will claim he’s doing it to protect you. At least, the Grinch didn’t pretend his misdeeds were altruistic.

Set aside the intrusion on personal liberty. Before canceling Christmas, Sisolak should explain why new lockdowns will help when past ones haven’t.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving he announced a three-week “pause.” That was his way of spinning new restrictions. He banned private gatherings of more than two households. He ordered you to wear a mask in your own home when someone outside your immediate household comes over. He restricted houses of worship to 50 people, while allowing casinos and gyms to operate at 25 percent capacity.

He argued the moves were necessary to preserve hospital capacity.

It hasn’t worked. Nevada’s coronavirus cases continue to climb, even accounting for the lag it would take to show that the new restrictions worked. Nevada’s test positivity rate hit 21.8 percent this week, as calculated by the state. That’s a new high. Some Southern Nevada hospitals are now postponing elective surgeries.

No surprise. If Sisolak’s lockdown orders worked, this crisis would have ended in April. That hasn’t stopped him. He issued a mask mandate in June that’s still in place. Aside from some rural schools, the Clark County School District is distance learning only.

Cases are surging in Nevada anyway. They’re also up in all of its neighboring states. Factors beyond the control of government officials seem to drive outbreaks in various regions of the country.

Sisolak’s actions have had some results. The National Finals Rodeo moved from Las Vegas to Texas. Nevada had the second-highest unemployment rate in the country, as of October. The coronavirus was always going to hit Nevada hard, but his restrictions, especially on conventions, have made things worse.

Sisolak has turned non-mask wearers into a straw man to attack. One problem. More than 93 percent of Nevadans report wearing a mask most or all of the time. That’s according to a Facebook survey done by the Delphi Research Group out of Carnegie Mellon University. The virus is still spreading.

Here are the Christmas gifts Nevadans need: the data, broken down by age and risk factor, and the ability to exercise their own judgment.

Contact Victor Joecks at vjoecks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4698. Follow @victorjoecks on Twitter.

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