The DeSanticide Continues
As the Florida Governor sells fake "freedom," California Governor Newsom highlights the devastating human cost
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Right now, 78,000 Californians have died of Covid-19. It's a staggering death toll. But it could have been so much higher.
In fact, if Ron DeSantis were running California, Governor Gavin Newsom said this week that his state’s death toll would be 40,000 higher.
It’s a simple, fact-based calculation based on the fact that more than 1 in 300 Floridians have died of Covid-19 under DeSantis’ watch vs. fewer than 1 in 500 Californians under Newsom’s.
DeSantis, of course, is living in a world where facts—and the deaths of Floridians—don’t matter. In his 2022 “State of the State” speech this week, he claimed falsely that commonsense public health policies adoped by other states, “have been as ineffective as they have been destructive.”
DeSantis has been positioning himself as the “Next Great White Dope” since the start of the pandemic. And early on, his psychopathically reckless (i.e. Trump-like) response to the virus made him a Fox News darling and even fooled people like Bill Maher into thinking he was doing a good job.
In 2021, he let things get even worse.
Covid Gone Wild
While many saw DeSantis’ speech this week as just one more audition for the 2024 nomination, he conspicuously failed to take any responsibility for the endless waves of death he continues to unleash. One example: in the four months that followed the July 12 launch of his “anti-Fauci” merchandise line, not only did mask-less Florida schools became overwhelmed with infections, 22,000 Floridians died.
While downplaying the vaccine and mask-wearing, “RegeneronRon” has been vocal in hyping the monoclonal antibody treatment his top out-of-state donor has invested heavily in.
Unfortunately for Floridians, the Regeneron “cure” DeSantis is hyping doesn’t work against an Omicron variant of a virus which, after the current surge, may have infected up to 80% of Floridians. But, because donors must be paid, DeSantis is buying more anyway.
DeSantis’ abject failure to protect Florida is perhaps why the quack he recently hired as the state’s new Surgeon General quickly moved the state to a new “slow the testing down” strategy.
And in another sign of the Governor’s dereliction of duty, he recently admitted that, even as anxious Floridians waited on endless lines to get tested before the Christmas break, he allowed one million tests to expire.
The Freedom to Kill, But Not to Teach or Protest or Vote
As the new, would-be leader of the “Freedumb” movement, DeSantis is, of course, presenting a vision of freedom designed to appeal only to viewers of the Tucker Carlson White Supremacy Hour.
In Florida, “freedom” means you can breathe a deadly virus on your neighbors or teachers or baristas. It means you can Stand Your Ground and shoot someone who looks at you funny. It means you can run protesters down with your car if they support racial justice. But it doesn’t include reproductive freedom. It doesn’t include the basic First Amendment freedom to actually be a protester. It doesn’t allow you to read any book you want. It doesn’t include the freedom for minorities to vote as easily as whites.
The Commonsense Alternatives to DeSanticide
In 2020, Trump not only failed the country in his response to the Covid-19 pandemic. He also targeted maliciously the “Blue States” and densely populated Democratic cities that were hit hardest in the first wave—and were guaranteed to vote against giving him a second term.
A simple comparison between Florida and New York, America’s 3rd and 4th-most populous states, shows that DeSantis is lying when he says science-based policies “have been as ineffective as they have been destructive.”
By the end of 2020, Covid-19 had caused more than 38,000 deaths in New York (population 19.5 million) vs. 23,000 deaths in Florida (population 21.5 million).
But in 2021, free vaccines became widely available and, even through the surge of the more contagious Delta variant, masks continued to be be a highly effective way to slow the spread.
New York, which continued to follow the science, ended 2021 with a population that was 72% fully vaccinated. In Florida, where DeSantis was happy to let Covid run wild, that number was only 63%.
In 2021, deaths in New York rose 21,906 (+57%), while in Florida deaths rose 38,927 (+165%).
As The Lancet reported previously, the combined failures of Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott to get their states’ populations vaccinated at the same rate as other states caused tens of thousands of preventable deaths.
GOP-run states bordering Florida—Alabama (+238%) and Georgia (+198%)—also saw staggering increases in Covid deaths in 2021.
Under DeSantis, Florida’s Covid-19 death toll leapfrogged New York’s in 2021. The state now has the nation’s 3rd highest number of total deaths and total cases—and the 4th largest number of cases per capita.
The facts about the DeSanticide in Florida are damning. Which is maybe why the Governor failed to use the words “coronavirus,” “pandemic” or “vaccines” in his State of the State speech.
As Gavin Newsom says, DeSantis and other GOP Governors are giving people “freedom to” spread disease, not “freedom from” having disease sprayed upon them: “They’re performance artists, some of these people. They’re not interested in facts or evidence.”
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