The reasons why cops and other first responders need to be vaccinated are obvious: they come into contact with a lot of people, which makes them higher risk to contract and then spread the virus. Plus many of the people police come into contact with have no choice about the contact, be a stop for questioning, a stop-and-frisk, or an arrest. Vaccinating police officers vastly reduces the chance they will become both ill and if ill, seriously ill, which is good for public safety because it means they are far less likely to be infectious and because it means they are available for duty.
In hopes of attracting these viral vectors to Florida DeSantis stated that he’ll ask his the state legislature to pass a law giving a $5000 bonus to any out-of-state police officers who relocate to Florida.
As to the argument that vaccinated police officers might be dangerous to our lives, DeSantis has an answer, albeit one utterly detached from reality:
“On a scientific basis, most of those first responders have had Covid and have recovered,” DeSantis claimed without evidence. “So they have strong protection and so I think that influences their decision on a lot of this that they have already had it and recovered.”
DeSantis delivered this fantasy on Fox News of course.
I’ve seen a bunch of frankly unimpressive attack ads this cycle. (Yes, looking at you, Remove Ron.) Here’s a reminder of how positive ads can be so much much better. This ad for Charles Graham in North Carolina could bring a tear to the eye if you are the weepy sort:
As the delta variant spreads through Florida, data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest this could be the most serious and deadly surge in COVID-19 infections since the beginning of the pandemic.
As cases ballooned in August, however, the Florida Department of Health changed the way it reported death data to the CDC, giving the appearance of a pandemic in decline, an analysis of Florida data by the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald found.
On Monday, Florida death data would have shown an average of 262 daily deaths reported to the CDC over the previous week had the health department used its former reporting system, the Herald analysis showed. Instead, the Monday update from Florida showed just 46 “new deaths” per day over the previous seven days.
The dramatic difference is due to a small change in the fine print. Until three weeks ago, data collected by DOH and published on the CDC website counted deaths by the date they were recorded — a common method for producing daily stats used by most states. On Aug. 10, Florida switched its methodology and, along with just a handful of other states, began to tally new deaths by the date the person died.
If you chart deaths by Florida’s new method, based on date of death, it will generally appear — even during a spike like the present — that deaths are on a recent downslope. That’s because it takes time for deaths to be evaluated and death certificates processed. When those deaths finally are tallied, they are assigned to the actual data of death — creating a spike where there once existed a downslope and moving the downslope forward in time.
Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran announced late Monday that the Florida Department of Education has withheld the monthly salaries of school board members in Alachua and Broward counties who voted to impose mask mandates that only provide for a medical exemption from a doctor. The state actually withholds the equivalent in funding of the members’ salaries.
I am sure that our very educated Governor (Yale College, Harvard Law) could, if he wanted, explain how the rule of law is for suckers, not the manly types who plan to inherit Trump’s mantle and govern with the mailed fist. But that is the unspoken part of the act.
More likely he would argue that since the injunction against enforcement of DeSantis’s anti-mask-rule order doesn’t technically forbid the Florida Dept. of Ed from just happening spontaneously to implement the DeSantis policy of fining counties for having a mask requirement, without formally relying on the Governor’s order. So, that’s all alright until another court issues a more far-reaching injunction.
And indeed, as a formal legal matter that argument about the limited reach of the original injunction might be accurate. (It’s a little hard to tell from the news reports of the decision.) But the question then is whether the mask-requirement-in-schools issue is one for which this sort of legal hardball (or sophistry?) is morally appropriate. I appreciate that there might be deep issues of principle where such an action might even be praiseworthy — don’t do something horrible until there is no legal argument left unturned, and then resign rather than sign the order sending people to the camps. I simply cannot conceive of the masking rule as such a deep question of liberty and principle; we require K-12 students to have various immunizations, and to wear clothes, indeed many public schools have quite strict dress codes. But here, the DeSantis admin is using these arguments to advance their play-to-the-base electoral scheme to block life-saving health measures. Even if this is a valid technicality, it is being harnessed in favor of a policy that will — there’s no way to sugar-coat this — kill people.
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.”
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?”