Op-Ed: Goodbye, Dr. Levine.

Along with many Pennsylvanians, I was astounded upon learning that Secretary Levine was promoted into the Biden Administration.

Failed policies should not be rewarded.

Where is the accountability?

Rather than accountability for policies that led to over 10,000 deaths of our elderly, Levine is celebrated as some sort of hero and lauded by an adoring press.  This is yet another example of the hypocrisy and double standards that we live under in Pennsylvania. 

Imagine if this was a Republican Secretary of Health.  But the adoring press gives praise and grace where it is not due.

Levine’s incompetence was manifest with some of the most bewildering, science-denying and ill-advised measures implemented in the nation, resulting in suffering and death.

During the initial days of the pandemic, the Secretary and Governor used the state’s outdated Disease Prevention & Control Act of 1955 to shield information from the public.  The lack of transparency was astounding.  Decisions were cloaked in darkness as lives and livelihoods were destroyed by ill-advised policies, that lacked both science and logic to back them up. 

Despite repeated appeals from the General Assembly to release non-existent “granular” data to justify these life-altering policies, both Governor Wolf and Levine refused to cooperate, and the media gave them a pass. Of the many failures perpetuated by Levine, the destructive policies that led to thousands of deaths amongst our beloved elderly population is the worst.

Thousands of Pennsylvania families have contacted me concerning the March 18, 2020 order by Levine and Wolf, directing COVID-positive patients to be sent from hospitals to nursing homes.

Sending the sick into the most vulnerable population resulted in a catastrophe.

Families across our state watched helplessly as this disastrous policy led to the deaths of over 10,000 of our beloved elderly.

The mandate separated families from their loved ones for hundreds of days, leading to feelings of anxiety, abandonment and depression.

Worse, Levine’s directive deprived Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens of the dignity of spending their final moments surrounded by family.

Meanwhile, the Health Secretary realized the failure of the policy. Instead of having the moral decency to alert Pennsylvania of the danger that resulted, the Secretary’s mother was secretly removed from a care facility to a hotel.

Pennsylvanians will not forget.

Over half of all COVID deaths in Pennsylvania are associated with nursing homes and personal care facilities. The virus is more deadly to those residing in long-term care homes, and this tragedy was a result of the Secretary’s directive.

Nursing home deaths in Pennsylvania have soared past the national average.

Six of the 10 nursing homes with the most COVID deaths in the nation, according to the New York Times, are in the Keystone State.

Time and time again, the Health Secretary failed to protect our most vulnerable population.

Yet, the failed policies did not end there.

Restaurants were closed, then allowed to reopen with capacity restrictions, then forced to close again with no “granular” data” being provided to justify this science-denying policy.

Sadly, many small businesses shut down permanently, as winners and losers were chosen by the Wolf Administration, without being told why.

According to Levine, it is unsafe to dine at a local pizzeria, but it is fine to shop at a big box store.

As a result of group gathering limitations, Pennsylvanians did not meet for Easter, Mother’s Day, Passover or Memorial Day, even though Governor Wolf participated in a protest with thousands, in a county where he forbid groups of 25 people from congregating.

Later, government bureaucrats ordered us to stay home during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Meanwhile, super spreader events – such as street parties in Philadelphia celebrating Biden, and widespread protests in May, June and October – were supported by the Wolf Administration.

High school athletes were not allowed to play sports and when the Health Secretary granted a dispensation to “let the kids play,” parents could not watch.

The double standards are alarming.

Masks were recommended, and then mandated, even though the Governor publicly stated that they were not “required.”

Goal posts for compliance were repeatedly moved.

Despite repeated pleas from the General Assembly, Levine forged forward with a reckless and contradictory management style.

Our civil liberties were trampled upon and violated numerous times.

It has long been my belief that state residents can implement their own health and safety practices, without the government interfering in our lives.

The government overreach by Levine was unacceptable, totalitarian and oppressive.

Levine will not be missed.

Senator Doug Mastriano represents the 33rd Senate District, which includes all of Adams County, and portions of Franklin, Cumberland and York counties.

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