DeSantis’ Gall, Obfuscation, and Dishonesty
As the pandemic's effects continue to worsen in Florida, DeSantis continues to play the worst kind of politics.
Via The Daily Beast: Ron DeSantis Says Biden Should Follow Florida’s Lead on COVID.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking to Fox News on Wednesday, said that President Joe Biden had failed to “end COVID,” whereas his state was experiencing “great success” in treating patients. “You know, he said he was going to end COVID. He hasn’t done that. We are the first state to start the treatment centers for monoclonal antibodies. We’re having great success with that. That should have been a bigger plan, a bigger part of this whole response throughout the country from the beginning. At the end of the day, he is trying to find a way to distract from the failures of his presidency,” DeSantis said.
Where to start?
Should I note that it takes a remarkable amount of dishonesty mixed with a clear attempt to mislead his audience to talk about how great his state is doing in treating a disease when he has been using his office to actively fight against mitigation of that disease? That is he is willing to seek and take away funding from school districts in his state and has threatened the salaries of local leaders who defy his ban on mask mandates?
Should I note that he is acting like he is doing something special promoting monoclonal antibody treatment, but at the same time has issued orders banning vaccine requirements and vaccine passports, even for private entities? But, you say, the vaccines were Emergency Use Authorization status with the FDA, but so are monoclonal antibody treatments (and, of course, the Pfizer mRNA vaccine is now fully approved).
And yes, lest someone note, DeSantis has given lip service to people getting vaccinated. But when you sign orders like the one he did he sends a clear signal that vaccines are suspect, especially to those who are already hesitant. His general approach to the entire pandemic has been to downplay it and to criticize and block tools to mitigate its spread.
What other signal is he sending with his “Don’t Fauci my Florida” merch other than that Florida ought not to do what Fauci recommends? And what does Fauci recommend? Vaccines (including requirement and passports, masks, distancing, and limiting public exposure through lockdowns when needed (but that was pre-vaccine). The signals are clear, especially to the vaccine-hesitant (and pure anti-vaxxers) as well as anti-maskers and anyone else who simply doesn’t like being told what to do. It is all fuel for the fire and the state is paying the price at the moment.
Politicians who engaged in these symbolic acts (like the mask-ban in Arkansas that Asa Hutchinson now regrets) hoping that they could cash in on the symbolism because they thought the pandemic was winding down are now making us all pay the price of those moves.
Don’t even get me started on who is trying to distract from an administration’s failure. He has already tried to blame the Covid surge on immigrants. And while setting up treatment clinics is a positive (see this Miami Herald piece), DeSantis is simply lying (or is deluded) when he talks about how great things are in Florida. He clearly wants to be president and is willing to ride the wave of Covid in his state and be dishonest about it in the hopes that certain primary voters won’t care in 2024. (And every time I read about Florida, I can’t help but wonder when we get an apology from Rich Lowry, but I won’t hold my breath).
These observations are not about whether one likes DeSantis or not. They are about cold, hard numbers.
Via Yahoo News: Florida is the only state where more people are dying of COVID now than ever before. What went wrong?
A few days ago, however, Florida’s daily death rate cleared 200 for the first time, and today it stands at 228 — an all-time high.
This makes DeSantis the first (and so far only) governor in the U.S. whose state is now recording more COVID-19 deaths each day — long after free, safe and effective vaccines became widely available to all Americans age 12 or older — than during any previous wave of the virus.
And via the NYT: In Florida, the pandemic is worse now than it has ever been before.
More people in Florida are catching the coronavirus, being hospitalized and dying of Covid-19 now than at any previous point in the pandemic, underscoring the perils of limiting public health measures as the Delta variant rips through the state.
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. The average for new known cases reached 23,314 a day on the weekend, 30 percent higher than the state’s previous peak in January, according to a New York Times database. Across the country, new deaths have climbed to more than 1,000 a day, on average.
Look, I fully understand that managing people in a pandemic is difficult and that choices made often do not go as planned. But the reality is that DeSantis’ entire approach to the pandemic has ranged from laxity on mitigation to straight-up blocking such efforts. I understand, therefore, if one doesn’t think that pandemic is a big deal (or if one is still, somehow, in the the “it’s just a flu” camp) or if one just so chafes under any kind of restriction (e.g., masks) that one would be prone to prefer DeSantis’ approach.
All I can say to that, however, is ask health care workers in Florida about that approach. Just look at the numbers and the reality on the ground.
- Via Yahoo: 75 doctors from South Florida hospitals staged a symbolic walkout to protest a surge in unvaccinated COVID-19 patients.
- WMFE: 68 Florida Hospitals Have Less Than 48 Hours Worth Of Oxygen
- WSFU: Florida Hospital Association: Less Than 8 Percent Of State’s Critical Care Beds Remain Available
- 12 News: Half of Florida hospitals turning away patient transfers, 17K COVID patients statewide
All of this suggests that more mitigation efforts are needed (and they certainly do not need to be actively blocked). And so while more access to monoclonal antibody treatments is a good thing, that is only one piece of a far, far larger puzzle. And the only reason to be going on Fox News Channel to regularly rant about such things is to help lay a foundation for a run at the 2024 nomination. It certainly doesn’t do anything to help Floridians with Covid. That is a terribly cynical thing to be doing given the context. And it is a clear sign that Ron DeSantis should not be President of the United States as all of this rather strongly suggests he is willing to contribute to hospitalizations and deaths to bolster his standing with a certain segment of the primary electorate. That’s not leadership; that’s selfishness of the highest order.