State lawmakers, news companies and government accountability organizations have been requesting COVID-19 information from the state for months. Numerous information requests Florida Politics sent FDOH and its spokesperson, Weesam Khoury, have gone unanswered.
Smith sent the Orange County Health Department a public records request on July 23. The information he asked for would not have identified anyone, but it “would illustrate the larger impacts of the virus on Orange County — including the ages, sex, ethnic and racial demographics of those with confirmed cases of the virus, and vaccination rates for the county,” his office said.
DeSantis on Monday threatened to fine local governmental entities requiring employee vaccinations $5,000 for each employee required to get the shot. It could mean millions in fines. But South Florida’s constitutionally elected officers who have required COVID-19 vaccinations are not backing down.
“He has no legal authority,” said Anne Gannon, Palm Beach County Tax Collector, who mandated her 315 employees get vaccinated back in April.
Eight employees quit over the mandate. But she doesn’t think DeSantis’ threatened fines, which could cost her office $1.5 million, will amount to much.
Similarly, Joe Scott, Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections, is not losing any sleep over DeSantis’ threat that could cost his office $5 million. He’s in the process of hiring 1,000 employees to work the Special Primary Election coming up Nov. 2 to elect a successor to the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings and they all must be vaccinated against COVID-19.
It’s all about making his poll workers and voters feel more comfortable.
A new poll released Thursday by the Committee to Protect Health Care, a group launched in 2016 to oppose President Trump’s promises to eliminate Obamacare, shows the governor’s approval rating at -7 among likely Florida voters when asked about his handling of the pandemic (45% approval, 52% disapproval).
While this polling was done by progressive group Data for Progress, three other polls in the past month show at least 60% support among Floridians for mask mandates in schools.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is Florida’s chief reality-denier. On Monday, he threw a tantrum disguised as a news conference in Gainesville, flanked by Attorney General Ashley Moody and CFO Jimmy Patronis. He ranted against the federal vaccine mandate, threatening to fine cities and counties requiring employees to get the COVID-19 jab $5,000 per infraction.
I mean, how dare the government try to save people’s lives?
Then, a couple of characters who were either disgruntled city employees or escapees from the local psych ward got to air their anti-vaccine foolishness.
One woman implied that the vaccine might kill her and she didn’t want her children left motherless: “My body, my choice, my business,” she said. “I will not comply.”
Darris Friend, who said he’d worked for the city of Gainesville for 22 years, asserted, “The vaccine changes your RNA.”
Pro tips: The vaccine does not change your RNA. Nor will it kill you.
Want to know what will kill you? The delta variant. And the cruel cynicism of Florida’s Republican leadership.
“I think we could have averted, in this country, a lot of people going to the hospital,” DeSantis said. “I think it would have saved a lot of lives.” [emphasis added]
DeSantis has prioritized monoclonal treatments such as Regeneron in his Florida pandemic battle plan, spending the past several weeks flying across the state supporting the treatments. Monoclonal antibody treatments are considered effective if administered early in an infection. At the same time, he has opposed Covid-related restrictions such as requiring students to wear face coverings, vaccine passports or mandatory vaccine mandates for workers. That has put him repeatedly at odds with the Biden administration.
DeSantis’ opposition to Covid mandates has raised his profile, with conservatives across the nation cheering him on as he prepares to run for reelection and possibly challenge Biden in 2024. But the summer surge in Florida’s Delta variant cases pose a threat to DeSantis’ electoral ambitions, with the governor’s approval ratings dropping as the state broke grim Covid milestones such hospitalizations and new infections almost weekly. [emphasis added]
All 67 Florida counties remain at extremely high risk of Covid spread.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the state’s only statewide elected Democrat and a candidate hoping to challenge DeSantis for governor next year, was critical of the fines when they were announced.
“Governor DeSantis is retaliating against Floridians who are trying to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19," Fried said in an emailed statement. “This not only goes against common sense — it’s also an insult to the free market principles that he claims to champion."
The question that DeSantis sidestepped was from POLITICO reporter Marc Caputo: “At yesterday’s press conference, the guy next to you said that the vaccines changed (his?) RNA. As you’ve said, you’re a data-driven guy. That doesn’t line up with the data. Two questions. Do you believe that? And if you don’t believe it, how come you didn’t say anything at the moment?”
Along with Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Attorney General Ashley Moody, DeSantis stood by silently as an invited speaker claimed that COVID-19 vaccines changed genetics.
Darris Friend, an employee at Gainesville Regional Utilities, defended refusing a vaccine on those grounds.
“The vaccine changes your RNA, so for me, that’s a problem,” Friend said.
Friend was trafficking in vaccine misinformation.
"If a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition to employment, that violates Florida law," DeSantis said in a press conference.
"And you will face a $5,000 fine for every single violation," he added. "That's millions and millions of dollars potentially in fines."
Florida has recorded more than 3.4 million cases of COVID-19 and over 49,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
Backed by Republican legislators, DeSantis ushered into law the Parents Bill of Rights, which says government "may not infringe on the fundamental rights" of parents to steer children's education, health care and everything else.
The way things are going, DeSantis might come to regret signing that bill. A Tallahassee state court judge used it as the reason to issue a ruling, now on appeal, that DeSantis may not order local school boards to drop the masking rules they adopted when the school year began, amid an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. [emphasis added]
Alachua County schools Superintendent Carlee Simon, leading one of the financially penalized school districts for its student mask mandate, hailed the action.
“I appreciate the U.S. Department of Education’s support of our efforts to limit the spread of COVID in our schools and community,” Simon said. “When we spoke a couple of weeks ago, (U.S. Education) Secretary Miguel Cardona told me that his department would back us up, and he’s been true to his word. We agree with Secretary Cardona that School Board members deserve praise for protecting their communities, not sanctions.”
Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper on Wednesday lifted an automatic stay of his decision last week that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and state education officials exceeded their authority by imposing the blanket ban through executive order and tagging defiant pro-mask local school boards with financial penalties.
But the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, which next gets the case, re-imposed the stay.
The lawyers for the 12 parents, whose children go to school in eight school districts across the state, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach, argue the children’s disabilities put them at particular risk of becoming ill or dying from COVID-19 if any of their peers attend school in-person without facial coverings.
“If students with disabilities cannot go to school safely, then no one can go to school safely,” Miami attorneys Matthew Dietz and Stephanie Langer wrote in the lawsuit, filed on behalf of the parents on Aug. 6 in Florida’s U.S. Southern District Court in Miami.
"If [DeSantis] feels that vaccines are not important for people, that they're just important for some people, that's completely incorrect," Fauci said after being asked about DeSantis' views during an interview Tuesday with CNN.
Vaccines have been the solution to public health crises such as smallpox, polio and measles, Fauci said — but they rely on wide adoption to work, he added.
"When you're dealing with an outbreak of an infectious disease, it isn't only about you," Fauci said. "There's a societal responsibility that we all have."
Ray Williams Funeral Home in Tampa told 8 On Your Side they’ve doubled their Saturday services and even added some on Sunday. “We have to convert some of our office space into viewing rooms and we’ve been doing that now for the past three weeks,” said Jeffrey Rhodes, the funeral home director.
The fundamental flaw afflicting Gov. Ron DeSantis is not the hubris that offended the gods and brought the protagonists in Greek tragedies to ruin, although the gods cannot have failed to notice his overabundant and unwarranted self-esteem. No, DeSantis’ flaw is unbridled ambition. He wants to be president so badly that he can taste it. In fact, he wants to be president so badly that all of us can taste it.
It is this ambition that led to the Faustian bargain that won him Donald Trump’s endorsement in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary and cost him his soul. And it is this ambition that has caused him to do a face plant right in the middle of the road to the White House. I refer, of course, to his shambolic performance during the COVID delta variant surge that has inundated Florida.
According to reports, at least 29 Florida law enforcement officers have died from COVID-19. At least five died over the course of one week in South Florida. Three officers in Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg police officer Michael Weiskopf, 52, Manatee Corrections Department worker Douglas Clark, 67, and Polk County sheriff’s deputy Christopher Broadhead, 32 died of the virus within days of each other last month.
Vaccines were offered to mourners at both Broadhead’s and Weiskopf’s funerals.
“This virus is real and it’s deadly and Christopher is the poster child for how deadly it is. He was only 32,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
In an op-ed following Broadhead’s death, Judd urged those who are eligible to get the vaccine.
DeSantis’ 32% puts him over former Vice President Mike Pence at 24%, Sen. Ted Cruz at 13%, and former Gov. Nikki Haley at 10%, with the rest of the field still farther back.
While DeSantis is still well-positioned as a Trump stand-in in 2024, some caveats abound, including polling showing that his governance style is wearying on Floridians.
We recently purchased a condo in Vero Beach, which we have greatly enjoyed during the winter/spring season. We are now back to our home in New York. We had planned on returning to Vero in November but because of the gross mishandling of the COVID-19 emergency by Gov. Ron DeSantis, we will not return until things are as good as they are in New York.
Since DeSantis' order, more than a dozen Florida counties have rebelled and voted to require masks to protect students and teachers as the Delta variant sweeps across the state. This week, the state's Department of Education sanctioned two counties that passed school mask requirements.
The battle between DeSantis and the state's school systems echoes larger fights across the country. Other Republican-run states such as Arizona and Texas have also banned mask mandates in schools even as COVID cases have soared in their states, as parents and voters are sharply divided over safety measures and personal freedoms.
He was asked if he had words to share with Florida families affected by recent COVID-19 deaths, as Florida has suffered a significant increase in recent weeks.
DeSantis said it was “a really sad thing.” But he expressed no sympathy or condolences toward families, nor any remorse regarding the skyrocketing numbers of people dying of COVID-19 in Florida recently. He skirted the subject briefly then moved on to talk about the treatment he has been promoting as an alternative to death.
Last week, more than 1,800 new Florida deaths attributed to COVID-19 were reported, a record week for the state.
Perhaps no politician has taken the reins from Trump with more vigor — and disastrous effects — than Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, a man who thinks he could be the next Republican president. But to supplant the last leader of his party, he has to out-Trump Trump.
To accomplish this meteoric rise, he needed to do two things. First, become the darling of the Trump freedom fighters, fighting for the right to get sick and die. And second, he has to be the opposite of the establishment, in this case Joe Biden and his administration. If Biden swerves left, DeSantis must swerve right, even if the hospitals in his state are overrun and the funeral parlors reach capacity.
Covid infection rates continue to climb as the state faces shortages of health care staff, morgue space and even oxygen for patients. About 16,000 people are hospitalized. Child infection rates have shot up. School districts — even in Republican strongholds — have rebelled against DeSantis’ anti-mask mandates. And cruise lines are resisting DeSantis’ vaccine passport ban. Even his recent poll numbers are slipping.
It’s new terrain for a Republican governor who defied dire expectation during the first wave of Covid-19 but has continued his hands-off approach as the more contagious Delta variant infects large swaths of Florida’s unvaccinated population.
A California psychiatrist who has advised Gov. Ron DeSantis on the coronavirus pandemic recently promoted a drug for COVID-19 patients that federal disease experts have strongly warned against after a spike in calls to poison control centers.
The surge of COVID-19 cases that ushered in the new school year has quickened dramatically.
Public school systems in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties reported 5,334 cases of the virus this past week among students and staff — far outpacing the 2,153 cases they reported the previous week.
From the Tampa Bay Times: The state reported 1,727 deaths from Aug. 20 through Thursday, the most recent seven-day period of data released by the state. That is the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities reported in a single week since the start of the pandemic. [emphasis added]
August deaths match the peak fatalities from the last wave of infections in January. And that number could continue to climb as new data rolls in, said University of South Florida epidemiologist Jason Salemi.
Ana Ceballos, a state government reporter for the Miami Herald, remembered one of the last times Dr. Rivkees was seen with DeSantis.
"Floridians will be keeping their distance and wearing face masks for up to a year until a COVID-19 vaccine exists, Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees said Monday before being whisked away by the governor's spokeswoman," the Tampa Bay Times reported in April of 2020. "The surgeon general's comments appear to conflict with what Gov. Ron DeSantis and his political ally, President Donald Trump, have said about returning to pre-coronavirus life." [emphasis added]
While Gov. Ron DeSantis barnstorms Florida encouraging people to try monoclonal antibody treatment if they get COVID-19, and while he and his staff battle with news media over how that effort is being reported, an average of more than 200 new COVID-19 deaths are being quietly tallied in Florida every day.
Previously, Florida’s worst one-week increase in cumulative deaths was recorded during the week leading up to the Jan. 29 state report, when 1,296 new COVID-19 deaths were added to the state’s total.
Meanwhile, Florida’s hospitals are overrun with COVID-19 patients — the vast majority of whom are unvaccinated. On Monday, 75 South Florida doctors staged a symbolic walkout from Palm Beach Gardens hospital, pleading with members of their community to wear masks and get vaccinated. This is Dr. Rupesh Dharia.
Dr. Rupesh Dharia: “We are not only your doctors, but we are your neighbors and your friends. Many of our children go to school here with your children. We are exhausted. Our patience and resources are running low. And we need your help.”
Asked to rate DeSantis’ handling of the pandemic, nearly 54% of voters have an unfavorable or very unfavorable view of the Governor’s performance, including nearly 34% with a very unfavorable view. By comparison, just 43% gave a favorable response of any sort, with 27% rating DeSantis’ leadership as very favorable.
Crist, a Democratic Congressman and former Republican Governor running for his old job, leads 57% to DeSantis’ 43% in a head-to-head matchup. The pollsters report a 3.1% margin of error.
The CNN/school board blast is not a new one, but is an interesting gambit from someone who owes his political rise and current position in no small part to Fox News primetime shows and the “fanfare” they provide.
The state reported 1,486 deaths, a 141 percent increase from two weeks ago. And it’s the most deaths since Feb. 10, as federal data shows Florida approaching the weekly death toll last seen this past winter.
One out of every four COVID-19 infections recorded by the state in the most recent seven-day period were 19 or younger.
Younger Floridians are also testing positive at a higher rate than other age groups: Children 12 and under have a positivity rate of 23 percent and ages 12-19 have a positivity rate of 25 percent.
The delta variant of COVID-19 is taking a major toll on Florid, but as it continues to spread across the state, there are now two new variants that have arrived here in Florida and have health officials concerned.
“One of them is called Lambda, and it’s been named as a variant of interest by the WHO, and it’s the dominant variant in South America and Peru” said Michael Teng, associate professor of the College of Medicine Internal Medicine at USF Health.
The lambda variant has also made its way to Florida and 43 other US states. Experts are closely watching this variant because a Japanese study found that it may be more resistant to current Covid vaccines.
[Dr. Leonardo]Alfonso says vaccinations could have blunted this surge, but when he asks patients if they got their shots, “I get this deer in the headlights headlights look, kind of just a blank stare, like they didn’t give it importance or they just blew it off or they thought they were young and healthy.”
Persuading the hesitant to protect themselves and the people around them is a ground game, experts say. “We’re getting out in front of every audience we possibly can,” said Dr. Groover.
Ron DeSantis is a governor uninterested in actually governing, a lawyer with little respect for the law, an anti-elitist with an Ivy League education and a hypocrite unbothered by inconsistency. Populist politics, not public policy, is his long suit.
- August 19, 2020 = 4,735
- August 19, 2021 = 24,517
DeSantis has been flying around the state promoting Regeneron, a monoclonal antibody treatment that was used on then-President Trump after he tested positive for COVID-19. The governor first began talking about it as a treatment last year.
Citadel, a Chicago-based hedge fund, has $15.9 million in shares of Regeneron Pharmaceutical, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Citadel CEO Ken Griffin has donated $10.75 million to a political committee that supports DeSantis — $5.75 million in 2018 and $5 million last April.
Agriculture Secretary Nikki Fried said she’s doing her best to fill the void that Gov. Ron DeSantis has left in his refusal to deal with the resurgence of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
Fried, a Democrat candidate for Governor, spoke via Zoom to the Mid-County Democratic Club in Palm Beach County Monday night and 15 listeners came.
“I feel like I’m wearing four hats at this point — Commissioner, Governor, emergency management (director) and candidate,”
Fried said. Fried slammed DeSantis’ refusal to provide daily data on COVID-19 infections, his order that takes away school districts’ authority to order that all students wear masks, and the way he’s selling merchandise poking fun at Dr. Anthony Fauci, an American physician-scientist and immunologist serving as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical adviser to the President. She decried how the “radical right” has taken over the state’s agenda.
Florida’s cases are soaring. The state reported a seven-day rolling average of 21,706 new daily cases on Saturday amid the worst surge of the pandemic. Deaths and hospitalizations are spiking, yet the number of tests administered has decreased.
Broward County has lost two teachers and an educational assistant to complications from Covid-19, Dr. Osgood said. The school board imposed a mask mandate for students, staff members and visitors; a doctor’s note is required for student exemptions.
“We believe that we have a constitutional obligation to protect the lives of our students and staff,” Dr. Osgood said.
It wouldn’t matter as much if Florida had a governor willing to fill the void. Ron DeSantis is not that governor. His focus has been stigmatizing masks, placating anti-vaxxers and letting misinformation go unchallenged. His neglect, timidity and inaction during this latest outbreak is unforgivable.
The governor has cozied up to health-care professionals whose chief concern is politics, not public health. He held an unannounced roundtable in late July that included a California psychiatrist who called masking children “child abuse.” At least the good doctor, Mark McDonald, didn’t call mask-wearers “retards” as he did in a February tweet.
DeSantis’s remarks are at odds with data from his own state Department of Health showing that RSV cases have decreased in recent weeks and can currently be counted on one hand. By contrast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported earlier this month that Florida had more than 30 Covid-stricken kids in the hospital each day between July 24 and 30.
That press conference came one day after DeSantis expressed confusion about officials from his own state requesting ventilators and smaller breathing devices from the federal government — equipment needed to prevent the state’s hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.
“As the virus burns through Florida, health care providers feel we are fighting this fire without any leadership from Gov. Ron DeSantis,” the doctors wrote in their open letter.
“Blocking communities from making local decisions to protect themselves with his top-down, one-size-fits-all edict will only make matters worse. His executive order prohibiting local school districts from implementing COVID-19 safeguards exposes every child to a virus that is deadlier than the flu, as contagious as smallpox and preventable with two basic mitigation measures: mask use and vaccinations. Gov. DeSantis has effectively outlawed the former, and all but ignored the latter. With schools resuming and children returning to classrooms, Gov. DeSantis’ anti-safety strategy puts people at risk, including children.”
Not with those spreading misinformation about vaccines or refusing to take protective measures. DeSantis instead railed against reporters for creating “hysteria” about rising hospitalizations and accused President Biden of facilitating the virus by not reducing immigration through the southern border.
Florida is the epicenter of a summer coronavirus spike fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant, reporting a fifth of all new U.S. infections and current hospitalizations. New cases and admissions have surpassed last summer’s Sun Belt surge. Florida is center stage of a dangerous phase of the pandemic where a new strain spreads more rapidly in a fully reopened society, attacking young and middle-aged adults and filling up hospital beds faster than ever. On Friday, the state reported 22,783 new cases of the virus and 199 deaths.
In mid-April, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took a victory lap. With Covid-19 vaccinations readily available and the pandemic surely coming to an end, his laissez-faire approach to the public health crisis had been surely vindicated. “It’s interesting,” a delighted DeSantis said in a press conference. “Now you’re starting to see some of the mainstream and national media admit: Oh, Florida had schools open—it was the right decision. Oh, Florida has a 4.8 unemployment rate, and yet their mortality rate for Covid is less than a lot of these lockdown states. People were saying Florida was going to end up hit the worst on everything.” But the doubters and haters were wrong. The DeSantis way had “proven to be a better approach.”
And many in the media were ready to preside over DeSantis’s coronation.
Meanwhile, back in the real world.....
Florida is ensnared in an alarming COVID-19 spike fueled by the highly contagious delta variant, making many pockets of the state dangerous hot spots. Case numbers are soaring and hospitals are filling up with COVID patients, including children. As of Sunday, at least 135 children were hospitalized with the coronavirus. Children 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines, but Dr. Marcos Mestre, who works at the Niklaus Children's Foundation Hospital in Miami, told NPR all of the patients he has seen within that age range have not been inoculated.
That said, as several school boards contemplated reimplementing protective measures for students returning to classrooms this fall, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order at the end of last month prohibiting mask mandates in schools. Despite the rise in cases and hospitalizations, the Republican governor has not changed course.
For the first time since February, the U.S. is now reporting an average of more than 100,000 cases per day. COVID-19 deaths are also on the rise, averaging 454 daily fatal cases, with close to one-fifth of those deadly cases from Florida. [emphasis added]
Gov. Ron DeSantis remains opposed to any preventative measures that experts say could slow the spread of the virus, including mask and social distancing mandates.
“By the time you see deaths rise, we’re long past the point of mitigation having any impact whatsoever,” the governor’s spokesperson, Christina Pushaw, wrote in a Thursday email to the Tampa Bay Times.
“Ergo, taking new actions due to the delayed reporting of deaths — an artifact of the past — would be a trivial exercise,” she wrote.
Meet Covidiot Christina Pushaw
Respondents were asked whether they approved of the job DeSantis is doing and 48.3 percent said they didn't approve, while 43.7 percent said they did. This represents a significant decline since a Florida Chamber of Commerce poll in May showed the governor's approval at 55 percent.
South Florida's Broward County Public Schools, the second-largest district in Florida, cited safety as its top priority announcing the decision to maintain its mask requirement pending further guidance from the state as coronavirus cases surge in Florida.
The Sunshine State has seen a rash of new COVID-19 infections in recent weeks. On Saturday, it recorded 21,683 new coronavirus cases, its highest single-day total since the pandemic began. [emphasis added]
DeSantis said he expects hospitalizations to drop in the next couple weeks, insisting that the spike is seasonal as Floridians spend more time together indoors to escape the summer heat and humidity. With the much more contagious delta variant now spreading exponentially, Florida hit 11,515 hospitalized patients Tuesday, breaking last year’s record for the third straight day. Hospitalizations have increased 11 times over the 1,000 COVID patients hospitalized in mid-June. About 2,400 patients are now in intensive care.
The data shows the severity of the surge in Florida, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak and now responsible for 1 in 5 new infections nationally. The previous peak in Florida had been on Jan. 7, when the state reported 19,334 cases, according to the CDC — before the widespread availability of coronavirus vaccinations. Florida has reported an average of 15,818 new cases a day over the past seven days, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. [emphasis added]
How does DeSantis explain his seeming dismissal of those CDC recommendations?\
"We think that's the most fair way to do it," DeSantis said of his mask move, adding: "Many Florida schoolchildren have suffered under forced masking policies, and it is prudent to protect the ability of parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their children."
7/27/2021 update starts here
More than 640,000 more Americans have been confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus this month. About 1 in 5 of those new infections were recorded in Florida.
The timing on this would seem to be a bit awkward for the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis (R). He’s leaned hard into the idea that he found the perfect balance of coronavirus restrictions and personal freedoms, standing athwart the big-government mandates in favor of the little man. Somewhat awkwardly, his campaign is selling merchandise mocking the federal government’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony S. Fauci, whose cautious approach to containing the virus annoyed former president Donald Trump and, by extension, Trump’s base of support. For a Republican with an eye on 2024 — such as DeSantis — it’s a valuable audience to which one might play.
7/26/2021 update starts here
The State of Florida didn't issue a Covid update yesterday, but the virus rampages on.
Florida’s leaders expected a summer wave. For many weeks, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, said the coronavirus would likely return in bigger numbers — as it did last summer, to devastating effect — because hotter temperatures drive people indoors, into the air-conditioning. [Emphasis added.]
“It’s a seasonal virus, and this is the seasonal pattern it follows in the Sun Belt states,” he said on Monday.
But Mr. DeSantis, a possible 2024 Republican presidential hopeful who has seen his popularity among conservatives skyrocket for bucking some federal guidelines related to public health and being early to reopen Florida’s economy, insisted that — summer wave or not — the state would not impose any new mandates. (Florida never instituted a statewide mask mandate, though local governments did.)
7/25/2021 update starts here
Gov. Ron DeSantis has drawn national attention for bucking federal health-care officials over the handling of the novel coronavirus, but a group of Florida physicians said Thursday the governor’s push to reopen the state and block precautions are a main reason for a sharp increase in the number of residents suffering from COVID-19.
Bernard Ashby, a Miami cardiologist and leader of the Florida chapter of the Committee to Protect Health Care, said DeSantis should spend more time talking to people about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and less time attacking federal infectious-disease expert Anthony Fauci in hopes of scoring political points.
“While hospitals in our state were filling up, DeSantis was shouting about ‘Freedom over Faucism,’” said Ashby who leads the group of 405 Florida physicians. “If DeSantis were as concerned about stopping COVID-19 spread as he was about coming up with these clever jabs about Dr. Fauci, we might not be in this position.”
Ashby said DeSantis has bragged about Florida’s approach to handling the pandemic, but he accused the governor of being reactive and not having a plan to protect residents.
July 24 update starts here
They weren't the only ones. (See 7/22/2021 update below.
Yesterday Florida reported 20% of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. Heckuva job!
7/23/2021 update, "GET ME REWRITE: 3 states report 40% of new COVID-19 cases in US: Florida leads the way", starts here.
Extremely risky business in FLA.
7/22/2021 update, "March 2021 Ron DeSantis headline at Politico is egregiously, hilariously off the mark", starts here.
“There’s a sweet spot in there that most governors have searched for but few have found,” said GOP pollster Whit Ayres, who’s worked for DeSantis in the past. “He’s managed to figure out the sweet spot between good policy and good politics.”
“He’s in the catbird’s seat,” powerful Trump-tied lobbyist Brian Ballard told me. “The future of the party.”
Original 7/21/2021 post, "Chris Cillizza headline still on the mark one year later", starts here.