Ron DeSantis To President Biden: Who Are You To Judge My Superspreader State?
Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis thinks (if we generously use that word) that President Joe Biden is “playing politics" with COVID-19 because the president wants to actually do something about the virus. "Sunday Morning Futures" host Maria Bartiromo let DeSantis vent unchallenged about a Miami Herald report claiming that unnamed officials within the Biden administration are plotting a domestic travel ban targeting Florida and other states with reported outbreaks of the COVID-19 UK variant, which is more contagious and possibly more lethal.
DeSantis claimed the very idea is just a “political attack" intended to "punish a state that is doing it better than what [Biden's] experts have recommended." Florida reported 5,436 coronavirus cases on Sunday. That's slightly better than the state's previous daily average of more than 7,000 cases, but DeSantis can keep the Back Slapper 9000 in storage.
He whined about the proposed ban, which the Biden administration hasn't confirmed, last week when he compared apples to racist oranges.
The recent report that the Biden administration is considering restricting the travel of Floridians is completely a… https://t.co/GKzbj6Vlee— Ron DeSantis (@Ron DeSantis)1613066304.0
"The recent report that the Biden administration is considering restricting the travel of Floridians is completely absurd, especially when Biden allows illegal aliens to pour across our southern border. We won't allow Floridians to be unfairly targeted for political purposes."
Biden has been in office for a less than a month. How many undocumented immigrants could've “poured" across the border in that time? Besides, it's a completely unrelated point. DeSantis is just pointing and shouting, “Look, squirrel! And it's illegal!"
DeSantis claims domestic travel restrictions have no basis in the Constitution, but last March, DeSantis asked the White House to consider restricting domestic travel from states with a high rate of coronavirus infections, arguing that travelers from those states made containing the virus difficult. All that's changed is the occupant of the White House. Also, Florida is now a flaming COVID-19 dumpster fire.
Infectious disease specialist Dr. Kleper De Almeida told WPTV in West Palm Beach that what's most concerning about the UK COVID-19 variant in Florida is that, "over the past few days, we have seen a progressive escalation in the number of new cases. "
Yeah, that superspreader Super Bowl event last Sunday was probably a bad idea. Dr. De Almeida repeated the CDC's recommendation that people consider wearing two masks or at least wear a mask that fits (apparently that was a problem). We should also thoroughly wash our hands, with soap and everything, and social distance. That last part is where many Floridians tune out. They want to keep living like there's no pandemic.
Since January 7, a week after the UK COVID-19 variant was first detected in Martin County, the Florida Department of Health has gone radio silent about which other counties in the state had confirmed the strain. That seems like important information they should share.
The Orlando Sentinel reports:
During that time, reported cases of the mutation spiraled to 347 as of Friday — over twice as many as the next closest state, California, which has 159. And the secrecy has continued without explanation, despite ongoing updates from the CDC, which has reported state-by-state totals for much of the nation.
Some counties, including Orange and Miami-Dade, have voluntarily disclosed the number of variant cases on their own, but many haven't. Guess we'll never know! There's no clear evidence of a coverup, but DeSantis has a sketchy history when it comes to COVID-19 and transparency. Last July, data scientist Rebekah Jones accused DeSantis of “routinely giving false numbers to the press" and demanding that the state's public-facing website "show that the percentage of positive tests over two weeks were below 10 percent even if the numbers were higher."
DeSantis has denied all this while also, at least by his actions, functionally denying that COVID-19 exists. After reopening the state in May, he's resisted most sensible mitigation efforts, including mask mandates. He let restaurants, gyms, bars, and most other businesses open at full capacity in September. Cities with competent mayors instituted their own restrictions, but DeSantis made it all but impossible to enforce them. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and other elected officials wanted the power to curb the spread of COVID-19, but DeSantis wouldn't take their phone calls.
"I have made personal attempts, which have been unsuccessful," said Suarez. "I've asked people who have acted as emissaries. It hasn't worked."
DeSantis, like Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp, has ignored the supposed conservative principle of local control because that would let Democratic mayors and officials keep their constituents alive. Meanwhile, on "Sunday Morning Futures," DeSantis insisted Florida will never again endure even the half-assed lockdown he briefly imposed last year.
DESANTIS: Biden is a lockdowner. His advisers are lockdowners. Lockdowns don't work.
They do in fact work.
DESANTIS: We're not turning back and they will not be able to get away with targeting Florida.
Full steam ahead into the pandemic iceberg! That's the DeSantis motto, we guess.
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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."