On Friday, Democratic Governor of Colorado Jared Polis appeared on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” to defend his recent statement that the COVID-19 “emergency is over.”

During an interview on December 10, Polis stated that “[everybody] had more than enough opportunity to get vaccinated,” and that if someone is unvaccinated and catches COVID-19, it’s their “own darn fault.”

The governor continued: “The emergency is over. … You know, public health [officials] don’t get to tell people what to wear; that’s just not their job. Public health [officials] would say to always wear a mask because it decreases flu and decreases [other airborne illnesses]. But that’s not something that you require; you don’t tell people what to wear.”

On Friday, Cooper began by asking Polis what he meant by his “emergency is over” remark.

Polis replied:

I hear terms like “viral tidal wave,” and I think what people want at this point in the pandemic are facts, not fear, and people should be empowered to make decisions to protect themselves, science-based decisions with the health and safety … we need to live, we need to operate from doctors and scientists with the individual freedom and local control that we deserve.

I think it should be no surprise that Julesburg, Colorado, population 1,253, addresses this in a different way than San Francisco or New York City, and even in our own state — cities like Denver, Aspen, Colorado Springs are all taking this seriously and making sure that we have the capacity to serve those in need, but they have different approaches to do it.

Cooper followed up by asking about Colorado hospitals, making reference to the state of Ohio bringing in National Guard troops due to alleged staff shortages at Ohio hospitals. The governor responded, saying that he knows the Omicron variant will spread in the state, and that they are prepared with “free at-home testing,” as well as “widely available” “monoclonal antibody treatment.”

Polis emphasized that the world is in a different position relative to where it was at the beginning of the pandemic, with vaccines and effective treatments:

It’s important that people know that we’re in a very different place, Anderson, than March of 2020. We now have vaccinations, highly effective. Everybody should get vaccinated and boosted. On top of that, monoclonal antibody treatment can reduce the hospitalization risk if you are infected by over 70%. So, that’s where we are today, and we just want to lead with facts.

Following some further conversation, Cooper asked: “So, is it that … you wouldn’t characterize what’s happening in Colorado as a medical emergency at this point?”

“I think we had a medical emergency back in 2020,” Polis replied before pointing to the vaccines and boosters as a major difference between the early days of the pandemic and today.

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