Category Archives: Florida

Masking Is Effective

mask-wearer

Random mask-wearer

In response to my suggestion that DeSantis should be impeached for getting in the way of local mask rules, comment trolls have been suggesting that mask-wearing is not an effective strategy for battling the COVID pandemic.

I happened to see an email on a list I belong to that mentioned studies on mask-wearing and thought I would share them for those who wish an evidence-based-approach to their politics:

…and there’s the one I cited in the earlier comments, KXAN, Do face masks work? Here are 49 scientific studies that explain why they do (Aug 7, 2021).

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.

Posted in COVID-19, Florida | 5 Comments

Impeach Ron DeSantis

This Twitter thread is surreal.

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.

UPDATE (8/24): A new poll shows that a large majority of the people of Florida think DeSantis’s stand on mask rules is nuts.  That doesn’t inevitably mean that (despite being immoral) it’s a bad tactic to get the Republican nomination, as Republicans agree with DeSantis’s view 72 – 24 percent.  It’s everyone else who loathes them: Democrats support school mask requirements 98 – 1 percent, independents support them 63 – 32 percent.

Posted in COVID-19, Florida | 19 Comments

It’s Hot Here

One of the finalists in this week’s New Yorker cartoon caption contest is close to the bone:

“I know how you feel. This used to be Florida.”
Michael Migliaccio, Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Posted in Completely Different, Florida | 3 Comments

DeSantis Basks in His New Popularity

They love, they really…well, hate him, actually.

And if you think he’s unpopular now, wait until a child dies of COVID in a school that wanted a mask rule but wasn’t allowed to have it because DeSantis and his team forbade it. I hope that never happens, but if it does, I hope it’s the centerpiece of a commercial playing every hour on every major station in the next election.

Posted in 2022 Election, COVID-19, Florida | 1 Comment

How Does He Sleep at Night?

This is Florida:

And this is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, as ably summarized by Paul Waldman: fight science, keep people from stopping COVID, ignore the casualty count, brag (to the survivors) that you enraged the liberals:

Any politician can be an Internet troll concerned with nothing so much as Owning the Libs, and many in DeSantis’s party think that’s their most fruitful path to success. But to really capture the hearts of the party base, you have to show your willingness to do actual harm to people’s lives as you wage war against the other side. And that’s where DeSantis is excelling.

Not that he’s above trolling. DeSantis sells T-shirts attacking Anthony S. Fauci and is now blaming the covid crisis in his state on undocumented immigrants in Texas; presumably we’re supposed to believe they cross the border near El Paso, walk to Corpus Christi, then dive in the Gulf of Mexico and swim to Tampa, a superhuman covid triathlon that is now filling Florida’s hospitals.

That kind of idiocy aside, no governor in America has done so much to make the spread of covid more likely. DeSantis signed a law nullifying local public health measures and banning private companies from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination. In a case brought by Norwegian Cruise Line, which hopes to prevent its cruises from becoming floating superspreader events, a judge just blocked the law’s implementation.

And in an escalating battle with local officials, he instructed school districts not to require masks and even threatened to withhold funding from any district that does so.

Each of these moves creates conflict and headlines, and each one is guaranteed to produce outrage on the part of liberals and anyone else who actually would like to see the pandemic end, which enables DeSantis to position himself as a chief antagonist in the politicized struggle over covid.

To be clear, DeSantis has encouraged people to get vaccinated. But the bulk of his public focus has been on attacking efforts to actually slow the spread of the virus. “We can either have a free society or we can have a biomedical security state, and I can tell you, Florida, we’re a free state,” he says

With a state government so determined not just to do as little as possible itself to prevent the spread of the virus but to actively prevent anyone else from doing anything either, it isn’t surprising that the delta variant found particularly friendly ground in Florida. It’s now experiencing its worst covid surge since the pandemic began last year; last week the state registered an average of 19,000 new covid cases and 1,800 new hospitalizations every day. It accounts for an incredible one in five cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the entire country.

Yet the fact that Florida has become Delta Ground Zero has apparently only increased DeSantis’s determination to allow covid to continue spreading.

Certainly, to the extent that the plan is to enrage folks like me, the plan is working very well. And, true, the dead don’t vote. (They do have families.)

But hasn’t the time come to say, “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Posted in 2022 Election, COVID-19, Florida | 17 Comments

Well That Didn’t Take Long

Remember that nutty DeSantis-inspired law that would make it illegal for some, but not all, large social media companies to ban politicians from their platforms?

On Wednesday US District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a 31-page preliminary injunction blocking it.

Or, as Ars Technica summarized it, “Judge tears Florida’s social media law to shreds for violating First Amendment: Judge blocks Florida law, calls it example of “burning the house to roast a pig.”

It wasn’t a gentle ruling; the Ars Technia piece linked above hits the (many) high points.

Gavel image licensed under Creative Commons  CC BY-SA 3.0 by Alpha Stock Images.

Posted in Florida, Law: Constitutional Law, Law: Free Speech | Leave a comment