Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Gonna Give Everybody A Hippopotamus With Coronavirus For Christmas


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the big dilemma — for idiots, that is — has been whether to follow basic health protocols such as covering your facehole in public and social distancing. The resistance has more to do with personal convenience and annoying obstinance than the actual science, which is pretty clear.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed COVID-19 infection rates in Kansas after Democratic Governor Laura Kelly issued a mask mandate. The study revealed that coronavirus cases decreased in counties that enforced the mandate and increased in counties that ignored it. This is consistent with patterns observed in 15 states and Washington, DC, where masks are required, compared with states run by morons.

This brings us to Florida, of course, where GOP Governor Ron DeSantis not only refuses to issue a mask mandate but has prohibited local officials with above freezing IQs from passing their own. This would represent a hypocritical rejection of local control if you were naive enough to believe Republicans have any consistent views beyond the accumulation of power.

DeSantis has just extended the order preventing the enforcement of mask mandates or any restrictions that acknowledge current reality. The governor seems to think that COVID-19 will cease to exist if we all stop believing in it, but he's gotten the coronavirus confused with Tinkerbell.

The two-page extension, issued before the Thanksgiving holiday, said the state "continues to suffer economic harm as a result of COVID-19 related closures, exacerbating the impacts of the State of Emergency, and Floridians should not be prohibited by local governments from working or operating a business."

This monster in an ill-fitting suit is prioritizing “economic harm" when Florida is on track this week to pass one million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 20,000 deaths. It's also not the closures that are causing economic harm, but the virus itself. Business as usual simply isn't safe. If Florida was evacuated because of a hurricane, the hurricane is responsible for any resulting “economic harm," not the elected officials who prioritized human life. But maybe DeSantis would shrug off a hurricane under some circumstances, as well. Who knows with this guy.

DeSantis isn't alone in blaming “Democrat shutdowns" for any economic misery people are suffering. Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz, who claimed we'd all stop talking about COVID-19 if Joe Biden was elected, now argues that he just never imagined Democrats would want to hurt decent Americans so much they'd refuse to let us spread COVID-19 in a packed restaurant.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber accused DeSantis of pursuing a scientifically stupid herd immunity solution to COVID-19, which involves letting the virus spread unchecked until everyone's been exposed. This is not a good solution, on account of all the dead people, but COVID-19 is fully on board.

"The idea of the Great Barrington Declaration is to let those with, quote, minimal risk build it up naturally while trying to protect others. The problem is those others are about a third of the population," Gelber said in an interview on CNN. "And they don't just include the elderly, they include people with asthma, people who might have weight problems, people with diabetes, and those people aren't living in segregated communities; they're living in homes with younger people or other people."

That's the insidious part of herd immunity. You can't encourage people to behave responsibly, because your goal is to literally increase the number of cases. Then most of the population's immune and happy, except for those who suffer long-term debilitating effects, such as fatigue, “brain fog," and, oh, death. Don't expect Republicans to pass any legislation that would help those poor bastards. Mitch McConnell is too busy confirming unqualified right-wing judges.

During an appearance on CNN last week, Gelber said DeSantis's actions were straight-up “nuts."

GELBER: He simultaneously opened up the economy and instead of then saying, "But everybody needs to wear a mask. That's how we can do this safely," he actually did exactly the opposite.

DeSantis is actively obstructing any effort to create what Gelber calls a “culture of compliance" with public health measures. You'd like to think negligent homicide would prove a failing reelection platform, but Florida has only shifted further to the right in the past few years. Trump even improved on his 2016 performance there, winning the state by more than three points. We're not winning the disinformation war, and the casualties are only going to increase.


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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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