Category Archives: Florida

Real or Onion?

Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., questioned Tuesday if the United States should rethink its diplomatic relationship with Australia given its strict, military-enforced COVID-19 lockdowns…

“You know, you guys, look what’s going on in Australia right now. You know, they’re enforcing, after a year and a half, they’re still enforcing lockdowns by the military.”

“That’s not a free country. It’s not a free country at all. In fact, I mean, I wonder why we would still have the same diplomatic relations when they’re doing that. Is Australia freer than China, communist China, right now? I don’t know. The fact that that’s even a question tells you something has gone dramatically off the rails with some of this stuff.”

So, real or Onion? You decide, then click through for the answer.

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Posted in COVID-19, Florida, Onion/Not-Onion, Politics: International | Leave a comment

LA Times Says Gov. Ron DeSantis is #1 Reason Why Florida is Doing So Much Worse than California on COVID

DeSantis COVID PolicyLA Times, How Florida fell so far behind California in battling the coronavirus:

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, California and Florida have stood as polar opposites in how government should respond to the coronavirus.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom last year backed sweeping stay-at-home orders, and this summer supported targeted vaccination requirements and indoor mask rules. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis led efforts to ban health rules: he issued an order prohibiting mask requirements and signed a law banning vaccine passports — requirements by businesses or government agencies to show proof of vaccination to gain services.

[…]

A Los Angeles Times analysis found that of the nation’s 50 states, Florida had the worst COVID-19 death and coronavirus case rate for the summer.

California, by contrast, for the summer had only about one-sixth of Florida’s COVID-19 death rate, and one-third of Florida’s case rate.

For every 100,000 Floridians, 70 residents died over the summer, while for every 100,000 Californians, 12 residents died.

[…]

Higher vaccination rates and mask use indoors “have helped to blunt this fourth surge in California as compared to Florida,” said Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, medical epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “We are seeing better application of public health measures in California compared to Florida.”

Of the nation’s 10 most populous states, Florida now has the second worst cumulative COVID-19 death rate since the  pandemic began, with 262 deaths for every 100,000 residents. Only New York has a higher death rate — 281. California’s rate is 176.

[…]

In other words, if California had Florida’s cumulative COVID-19 death rate, an additional 34,000 Californians would have died. And if Florida had California’s death rate, 18,000 fewer Floridians would have died.

[…]

Some epidemiologists and infectious diseases experts say Florida was hurt by leaders there making statements contradicting those made by leading scientists and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which advised by late July that masks again be worn again in indoor public settings.

[…]

DeSantis, Florida’s governor, has made statements contradicting the CDC, stating in an executive order that “forcing students to wear masks lacks a well-grounded scientific justification.” In fact, there is plenty of evidence suggesting masks help: a study published last week by the CDC found that, in Arizona’s two most populous counties, schools without mask requirements were 3½ times more likely to have coronavirus outbreaks than those with mask rules.

[…]

In Florida, [University of Florida epidemiologist Cindy] Prins said she and other public health experts found their work and expertise criticized, misconstrued and politicized around whether masks work, vaccine efficacy and the merits of social distancing.

[…]

[Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, which runs a widely cited forecast of pandemic projections] lamented key steps that could’ve inspired more people to get vaccinated. DeSantis, for instance, notably declined to get vaccinated in front of news cameras, and held an event criticizing government vaccination requirements, where he stood along side several workers employed by the city of Gainesville who said the government shouldn’t force them to get vaccinated, according to the Associated Press.

Thank you Governor DeSantis!

Posted in COVID-19, Florida | 1 Comment

Annals of Unsurprising Research Results

Masks are like shoesIn a vastly unsurprising piece of news, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published two studies that show masks can help protect children from COVID-19 and prevent large outbreaks in schools. The result holds even when there is a high level of community transmission and the highly contagious delta variant is present.  (Spotted via Daniel Politi, Slate, CDC: Schools With Mask Mandates See Fewer COVID-19 Outbreaks. )

Of course here in Florida, the DeSantis presidential campaign strategy of killing off as many Floridians as it takes to satisfy the cravings of the red-meat Trumpist GOP means that the state of Florida punishes school districts that put their students first and require masks.

Not only that, but in the latest development, DeSantis and his new weird, weird, state surgeon general, have announced that asymptomatic Florida students exposed to COVID do not have to quarantine — they can attend school if they want — presumably also without masks?

So, once again, DeSantis supports a pro-COVID policy.  And the state suffers for it.

Posted in COVID-19, Florida | 2 Comments

Bloomberg Commentator Comes Real Close to Saying DeSantis Has Chosen to Kill People

Here is Jon Authors in his “Points of Return” newsletter for Sept. 16, 2021:

Looking at the numbers for Texas and Florida, the two large states where Republican governors have vocally refused to enforce social distancing and where there is great skepticism toward the vaccine, the results are startling. I compiled the following chart the same way as the earlier comparison of the U.S. and the U.K., indexing both states’ death rates to the peak in the first wave, which in the southern U.S. came in August last year. As with the U.S. and the U.K., the pattern was remarkably similar until early this summer. Since then, Texas has endured a clear-cut third wave. The experience in Florida is remarkable, and suggests that there is more to the problem than vaccine hesitancy:

Unlike virtually anywhere else in the Western world, Florida is in the midst of a third wave much worse than the first two. Without getting too political, this makes the state’s current policies toward the virus very hard to understand; and also makes the current death toll look like the result of deliberate decisions, both by politicians and individuals. This is only a hypothesis, and it looks as though there is more to the Floridian third wave than resistance to vaccines, but numbers like this help explain why investors are calm.

Let me repeat the key bit: “Without getting too political, this makes the state’s current policies toward the virus very hard to understand; and also makes the current death toll look like the result of deliberate decisions, both by politicians and individuals.”

Thank you, Ron DeSantis!

Posted in COVID-19, Florida | 1 Comment

DeSantis Anti-Mask Policy is Killing Children

DeSantis COVID PolicyWe don’t know for sure if some of these fatalities would have happened anyway, but it’s highly likely that the number would have been lower if we required masks in schools.

Politico, Child Covid deaths more than doubled in Florida as kids returned to the classroom:

A POLITICO analysis of weekly Covid-19 reports from the Florida Department of Health shows that 10 children under the age of 16 died from Covid-19 from July 30 to present as the Delta variant — which is much more transmissible — became the dominant strain. Previously, a total of seven kids died from the virus from the beginning of the pandemic through July, amounting to a span of more than 15 months.

The state now has seen 17 deaths, and American Academy of Pediatrics Florida President Lisa Gwynn said many of them may have had underlying medical conditions when they became infected.

“Having said that, it doesn’t mean we’re not worried sick about it,” Gwynn said during a Sept. 3 interview. “We’re all worried because we’re not sure what’s going to happen in the future.”

The child deaths come as Florida finally sees an easing in the surge of new infections, which ravaged the state over the summer. Florida accounted for one in five infections nationwide over the summer, which stretched an already strapped nursing workforce and jammed hospitals to the point where some facilities used office boardrooms as overflow wards.

But the deaths since July 30 also occurred as hundreds of thousands of kids in Florida began returning to classrooms and amid the ongoing fight between DeSantis and school districts over student mask mandates.

The more than 46,000 people in Florida who have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic began includes over 36,000 seniors aged 65 and older. While the 17 child deaths may seem low compared to the older adults, the increase of six deaths in August is an inevitable result of more kids becoming infected, according to officials at the Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville.

Mobeen Rathore, Wolfson’s chief of pediatric infectious disease and immunology, said more children are being admitted to intensive care units and getting intubated.

“Unfortunately, some of these children will not survive,” Rathore said.

… [O]therwise healthy kids are now facing multisystem inflammatory syndrome about a month after they become infected by the virus. The syndrome, also known as MIS-C, is an inflammation of the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The syndrome can also affect individuals with mild cases.

By the way, in case you are a Floridian who was wondering what the COVID rates are like where you live, fuggedaboutit, as the Governor doesn’t want you to know: How many people have died of COVID-19 in your Florida community? State won’t tell you,

COVID-19 killed one Floridian an average of about every four minutes last week, the second worst in the nation.

But for those wanting to know how many people are dying every day in their own communities – good luck. The state of Florida won’t say. Nor will most local public health officials. At least one county acknowledged it doesn’t know. Federal websites show either incomplete or inconsistent data for Florida’s counties.

We know that Florida last week reported 2,345 COVID-19 deaths for the state. But, almost uniquely throughout the United States, Florida has not reported deaths at the county level for three months. The intensity of this worst wave of the pandemic in a given locale is anyone’s guess.

The state Department of Health says to look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for county death tolls. But the number reported on one CDC webpage undercounts Florida’s tally by thousands, and the CDC’s most prominent map of county-level COVID-19 deaths shows only blanks for each of the state’s 67 counties.

The Florida Department of Health once reported county death tolls each day before switching to weekly reporting in early June. Spokeswoman Weesam Khoury gave no indication the department intends to return those local death statistics to its weekly reports …

When pressed on why the data don’t appear in the state’s weekly reports, Khoury replied, “If you don’t like those answers, I don’t know what else to tell you.”

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Masks, Latest

DeSantis COVID PolicyFrom the news:

Remember, it’s Florida state policy to prevent local and private masks requirements, whether in schools, in counties, in cruise ships, in private businesses.

Thank you Governor DeSantis!

Posted in COVID-19, Florida | Leave a comment