As The Times reported on Wednesday: “More people in Florida are catching the coronavirus, being hospitalized and dying of Covid-19 now than at any previous point in the pandemic.” The Times continued, “This week, 227 virus deaths were being reported each day in Florida, on average, as of Tuesday, a record for the state and by far the most in the United States right now.”
… DeSantis is playing to an electorate beyond the panhandle. As long as he is still mentioned in the same breath as Biden, even if the coverage is negative, he is playing well among Republicans. As long as he is fighting Washington and Democrats and experts, it doesn’t matter to entrenched Republicans that he’s not fighting the plague.
Some bodies must be sacrificed to appease the gods of partisan resistance.
To keep the spotlight, DeSantis is employing many of the same tricks as Trump: fighting with the media about coverage, deflecting blame onto Biden and convincing his followers that folding to facts is the same as forfeiting freedoms.
As DeSantis said in early August, “We can either have a free society, or we can have a biomedical security state.” He continued, “And I can tell you: Florida, we’re a free state. People are going to be free to choose to make their own decisions.”
Yes, Florida, DeSantis is allowing you to choose death so that he can have a greater political life.
Florida reported another 901 previously unreported COVID-related deaths on Thursday, sending the 7-day average soaring to the highest it’s been through the pandemic. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control also showed 21,183 new cases.
The 901 deaths is the highest number reported in Florida, which has been releasing death counts in batches based on the date the deaths occurred. The 7-day trend based on the date the death was reported stands at 242, according to the Sun Sentinel’s analysis of the CDC data.
But, hey! Things are even worse in Alabama and Mississippi, so not to worry, right?
As of Wednesday, Florida ranked third in the nation for both average daily COVID cases and deaths per 100,000 population.
I believe these overwhelmingly substantiate my claim that the weight of current scientific evidence highly supports the value of mask-wearing in public and especially indoors (such as in classrooms). Science moves at it does: that was not the initial consensus view, and someday the weight of hypothetical new contrary evidence might push to a different view, but today, I think any rational person who wants their personal decisions, and the decisions of political leaders ,decided by science must accept that right now this is the far-better supported view.
Does that end the debate? Of course not; even without new data there could be countervailing considerations — although I think these largely are absent at present. I think the evidence tends to show that the downsides of masks, even for most kids, is low to zero. It’s possible there might be a religion I don’t know of that prohibits mask-wearing (there certainly are some that forbid vaccination, e.g. Christian Science). There might be the rare true respiratory disease that allows going out and about, but can’t cope with a mask.
Barring some rare edge cases, though, I think the evidence here is pretty clear: DeSantis and a few other governors are ignoring the clear evidence on the value of masks, and the direct effect of their crass and evil choices will be illness–some of which will be serious and long-lasting–and death. That really ought to matter to people.
Surely in any rational polity, one where country (or state) mattered more than party, the calls would be ringing to impeach Governor DeSantis for his campaign to cause the children of Florida to infect their (often elderly, or immunocompromised, or – this being Florida – unvaccinated) vulnerable relatives, thus leading in many cases to hospitalization and death.
But this is, demonstrably, not a rational polity. [Update: see Masking Is Effective] So the question, blunt and indecorous as it may be, must be asked: how many dead people will it take before impeaching DeSantis becomes sufficiently necessary that people demand it of our gerrymandered and Republican-controlled but, one assumes, still-human state legislature?
Recall that the Governor’s policy is not simply one of inaction in the face of pandemic: it is to very actively block local government attempts to prevent the spread of the disease, and to punish (now via his tame Board of Education) those who have the moral courage to act in the face of his attempts to intimidate them.
What’s that you say? There is no chance that the Trumpist Florida House of Representatives would ever risk angering its base — the kind of people who boo Trump himself when he encourages vaccination — by even tolerating a suggestion that ur-Trumpist DeSantis’s pro-death policy was in any way objectionable? I agree that is the most likely story. But ‘a week is a long time in politics’. And the movement has to start somewhere.
Bill Burr, calling DeSantis an [obscenity] politician.
CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner: COVID “is so high in Florida that I think if Florida was another country, we would have to consider banning travel from Florida to the United States.” And, DeSantis “needs to understand that he has painted himself into a corner. People are dying in Florida. It is going to get much worse.”