The deadly flaw of the Occasions’ reporting is it refuses to confess that DeSantis sought to use COVID-19 politically as a method of burnishing his political cred with the GOP’s personal-freedom-at-all-costs crowd.
As a substitute, the Occasions emphasizes the notion that DeSantis was an enormous vaccine promoter, which is not precisely correct, after which paints him as a sufferer of unexpected and unavoidable penalties surrounding his warfare on nearly each different mitigation effort—from masking mandates to lockdowns to vaccine passports.
Some Floridians might barely consider their eyes. “Florida State Consultant, right here,” tweeted Democratic Rep. Omari Hardy in response to the piece. “That is ridiculous. There was not something resembling a ‘robust push’ for vaccinations in Florida.”
Surely, DeSantis instantly started sparring with the Biden White House on the state’s vaccine rollout proper as distribution actually began pumping in early 2021. Because the federal authorities pushed to get as many preliminary photographs in arms as attainable, DeSantis began withholding as much as 50% of Florida’s supply to be able to make sure the state might administer second photographs to those that had obtained their first dose.
“We’re not going to divert second doses away from seniors,” DeSantis stated is late January. “Seniors need it. We’re going to do it.”
In late January, the White House announced plans to invigorate vaccination efforts nationwide by establishing as many as 100 federally run websites throughout the nation, together with in Florida.
DeSantis complained bitterly in regards to the thought, calling it a “big mistake” and mocking the notion of “FEMA camps.”
“I can let you know, that’s not needed in Florida,” DeSantis stated. “All we need is more vaccine. Simply get us extra vaccine.”
However by mid-February, DeSantis relented, announcing 4 new mass vaccination websites would quickly be opened “in partnership with the federal authorities” in Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville.
The sample right here was clear, and it wasn’t “Ron DeSantis as fierce promoter of vaccines.” It was “Ron DeSantis as fierce political opportunist.” First, DeSantis painted himself as the good protector of the Sunshine State’s retirement communities in opposition to the federal authorities. Then he criticized federal efforts to spice up vaccination charges whereas suggesting the true purpose for the state’s lagging pace of vaccinations got here all the way down to a provide difficulty from the federal authorities.
However past the problem of vaccinations, DeSantis’ remedy of COVID-19 as a political soccer has been each obvious and unconscionable. In his capability as governor, DeSantis has used each device at his disposal to ban mitigation efforts, banning vaccine passports for companies in his state, battling Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulations on Florida-based cruise ships, and maybe most notably, prohibiting each native officers and faculty districts from issuing mask mandates.
“We are able to both have a free society or we are able to have a biomedical safety state and I can let you know, Florida, we’re a free state,” DeSantis said at a press convention in early August. It was quintessential DeSantis, elevating a person’s proper to reject mitigation efforts over the general public well being of the state as an entire. Gee, maybe that message from the state’s chief government was at the very least worthy of examination in a bit claiming to discover what went mistaken with the pandemic in Florida.
Finally, the Occasions treats Florida as “cautionary story” for different states, suggesting the delta variant is simply too contagious to be curtailed by vaccinations alone. The purpose appears to be that when lots of individuals are pressured indoors (both by withering warmth or bone-chilling chilly), delta will discover a option to unfold if different efforts similar to obligatory masking and vaccine passports will not be additionally employed.
However the Occasions additionally completely divorced that cautionary story from the state’s chief promoter of public coverage: Ron DeSantis, who deliberately politicized COVID-19 in his state. If DeSantis’ foremost aim had been to avoid wasting lives slightly than utilizing COVID-19 as a launch pad for his private presidential ambitions, his state certainly would have fared higher in opposition to the delta variant, although nobody can conclusively say precisely how a lot better.
However the Occasions unquestionably portray DeSantis as a part of the answer slightly than a chief a part of the issue is nothing brief journalistic malpractice.