Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is overseeing an uptick in COVID cases, so naturally that means it’s time again for leftists in the media to pretend they care about who’s dying in that state.
It gives them an excuse to continue politicizing the pandemic, hyping up new cases on a popular Republican’s watch and sweeping aside the atrocious pandemic response of Democrats.
With great subtlety, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson declared at the start of his column on Thursday that, “This is the GOP’s pandemic now.”
He went on to single out DeSantis as “public enemy number one” because as governor he’s made a point to ban mandates and masks and vaccines in his state, promoting mask-wearing and vaccination instead as a matter of personal choice. (For any on the left who might be reading, “personal choice” refers to the notion that an individual makes decisions based on his own circumstances, rather than be coerced by the government or some other entity.)
It’s true that more than a year into the pandemic, in which 615,000 people died and in which every state has seen waves of cases at different times, Florida is near the top of the list in average daily cases, behind only Louisiana. But that sounds a lot worse than what it actually is, relative to previous waves of the virus, which were exponentially more devastating.
Florida right now is averaging 84 new cases each day for every 100,000 people in the state. That’s .08 percent.
The state is also averaging less than one COVID death per day with a population of nearly 22 million people.
Admittedly, New York, overseen by the media’s former pandemic hero, Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo, has a comparable population and is doing better than Florida, averaging just 15 new cases per day to Florida’s 84. And New York’s current death rate is also slightly better than Florida.
But the pandemic didn’t begin this week, and when you compare both states, and others, for the duration of the virus’s spread, a very different picture comes into focus.
When you look at the death rate of the top 10 states hit hardest, New York is at the top, behind only New Jersey. New York has a total death rate of 274 people per 100,000. Florida is ranked 25 states below New York, with 183 deaths per 100,000 people.
DeSantis’s state isn’t even a standout in terms of vaccinations. Half of its population has been “fully vaccinated.” That’s the same as the nation as a whole.
Someone smarter than Eugene Robinson might counter that New York was at a disadvantage because that state was hit with the initial wave of deaths before we knew much about the virus and well before there were vaccines available.
That might sound fair, but we were told by none other than Dr. Anthony “sex symbol” Fauci himself that New York was doing everything right to contain the spread. The severe lockdowns, the mask mandates, the testing, the contact tracing. All of that was supposed to save innumerable lives.
“We know that, when you do it properly, you bring down those cases. We have done it. We have done it in New York. New York got hit worse than any place in the world. And they did it correctly.” — Anthony Fauci, July 2020.
Here’s what to do it “correctly” looks like: 53,315 deaths to date in New York.
Here’s what it apparently looks like to not be so hot: 39,403 deaths to date in Florida. And again, Florida has more people and more elderly, the group most at risk of succumbing to the virus.
Sure, it’s “the GOP’s pandemic now.” But only if we pretend the pandemic began yesterday. That’s not how this works.