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#DeSantisVariant Trends After Acosta Segment On GOP COVID-19 Denialism

The hashtag #DeSantisVariant hit Twitter hard Sunday, following a segment in which CNN anchor Jim Acosta addressed denialism among Republican legislators, saying it’s wrong to enact policies that will cost people their lives in order to “own the libs.”

LAKELAND, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES – 2021/05/28: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis listens at a press conference at LifeScience Logistics to urge the Biden administration to approve Florida’s plan to import prescription drugs from Canada, thereby saving Floridians an estimated $100 million annually on drug costs. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Acosta, as seen in the clip below, addressed Republicans like Senator Josh Hawley (MO) and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who have pushed against precautions like vaccination and mask-wearing. DeSantis, in particular, is being sued currently over legislation that would forbid school districts to enact mask mandates for their students.

In his segment, Acosta said that GOP legislators who think that they’re “owning the libs” are fighting against science instead of the virus, and that perhaps the new variants that can be counted on to evolve if the spread of COVID-19 isn’t stopped should be named after these individuals.

Twitter users loved the idea and picked up on it, causing #DeSantisVariant to trend, attached to memes and commentary portraying DeSantis and other GOP leaders into COVID-19 virus particles, harbingers of the apocalypse, and more.

In particular, the #DeSantisVariant hashtag found its way to news articles about DeSantis’ current efforts in Florida to ban mask mandates in schools, and the renewed surge of the virus in Florida, where hospitals are reporting record numbers of young children testing positive for the virus, and even ending up in the ICU.

DeSantis himself has said that he didn’t expect such a surge of hospitalizations, but did encourage Floridians to get vaccinated, since the majority of severe cases are reportedly among the unvaccinated. However, no vaccine has yet been approved for children under the age of 12.



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