Ron DeSantis Managed Not To COVID-19 Everyone To Death In Florida, So That’s Something

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tried really hard to screw up his COVID-19 response. He kept beaches open so the coronavirus could work on its tan. He waited until Trump gave him a permission slip before ordering residents to stay at home. Meanwhile, a disgustingly low number of unemployment claims have been been paid thanks to an intentionally crappy system. DeSantis still thinks he deserves a pat on the back. Sunday, he praised Florida for slowing COVID-19's spread and mocked the naysayers who suggested the state was on the path to doom.

DESANTIS: If you go back six weeks, there were people saying that Florida was going to be another New York or another Italy — those have all been proven to be false. Florida's performed better than anyone predicted.

Florida currently has 31,532 confirmed cases and “only" 1,075 deaths, which is less than Michigan, Pennsylvania, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and of course New York. Florida still has more cases per 100,000 residents than California, but it does appear that the sunshine state's cases peaked in early April. Hooray! DeSantis could've left it at that but he decided it was time to gloat.

Gov. Ron DeSantis: Florida is 'God's waiting room' for dying seniors

The governor noted that Orlando, home of Disney World, had only 68 COVID-19 hospitalizations, which he said was "probably a two-hour stretch in Brooklyn." That's gross. Why is he pissing on New York like a common Bret Stephens? He's at least an equal opportunity offender. He also roasted his own state: What's the deal with all the old people in Florida? They're practically dead already!

DESANTIS: Florida is ground zero for the nursing home, we're God's waiting room. We have a huge number of facilities, a huge number of residents.

Yikes! Yes, Florida has fewer fatalities per capita at longterm care facilities that other states, but this isn't a competition. Does he want a medal? Because he's not getting a medal. Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democrats, negatively reviewed DeSantis's standup act.

Florida's stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire on Thursday, and DeSantis hasn't confirmed if he'll extend it. Pesky medical experts, however, insist that while Florida appears to have “flattened the curve," it's too soon to declare victory and return to whatever was considered normal in the state.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

"That doesn't mean it's safe to open," says Thomas Hladish, a researcher at the University of Florida's Department of Biology and Emerging Pathogens Institute and a consultant to the state health department. "Those don't go hand in hand. If you said 'OK, everyone go back to normal life,' you'd see exponential growth like before because we haven't built up herd immunity."

They key to every state reopening is, to quote Nancy Pelosi, “testing, testing, testing" so COVID-19 infected people are effectively identified, traced, and isolated. Scientists are begging for it.

"Can we please get more testing? I would urge people to be looking for more testing," says Dr. William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

DeSantis has indicated he'll use the White House guidelines as a roadmap for reopening. He believes there's a lot the state can do "with social distancing that doesn't involve shutting everything down." Still, at least 1.5 million jobs are directly related to tourism, which likely won't ramp up very soon. DeSantis claims Florida's hamster-wheel-powered online unemployment system wasn't “built for this tsunami," which is true, but former Gov. Rick Scott didn't even build it for a light spring shower. While Florida waits out the virus, the governor needs to make sure that the jobless can afford to eat.

[Orlando Sentinel / New York Daily News]

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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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