Holcomb Defensive About COVID-19 Response As Virus Spread Worsens

Oct 21, 2020

At his weekly press briefing on Wednesday, Gov. Eric Holcomb said the state is in a much better place than early in the pandemic.
Credit Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb insists there is no need to reimpose statewide COVID-19 restrictions.

The average number of new cases has more than doubled since Holcomb moved Indiana to Stage 5 four weeks ago and withdrew almost all restrictions.

At his weekly press briefing on Wednesday, the governor said the state is in a much better place than early in the pandemic. He said hospital systems aren’t overwhelmed and the state’s PPE supplies are sufficient.

“We know a lot more about this. We know how to fight back," Holcomb said. "We know we can control what we can control – and that has to do with distancing, that has to do with masking up, that has to do with good hygiene.”

Asked multiple times about whether he would re-impose restrictions, Holcomb became defensive. He framed the choice as between staying in Stage Five – or going back to the harshest restrictions imposed during the early days of the pandemic.

“And the last thing I want to do or need to do is go back to a 'Stay-At-Home,'" Holcomb said. "By the way, when we did, we didn’t shut the state down.”

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Holcomb faced sharp criticism in Tuesday night’s debate for his COVID response. Libertarian Donald Rainwater blamed him for ruining the economy. Democrat Dr. Woody Myers said he should reimpose some restrictions, like capacity limits at restaurants and bars.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.