Florida’s GOP Governor Lied, Mislead the Public About COVID-19, Explosive New Report Says
Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has become the poster child of how not to manage a state during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since he was elected in 2018, DeSantis has crafted an identity as a mini-Donald Trump.
DeSantis’s parallels to Trump are uncanny. He has done virtually nothing to stop COVID-19 from slaughtering Florida’s residents, many of whom are eldery and among the most vulnerable of populations. His reckless disregard for human life has condemned the Sunshine State to a winter of disease, darkess, and despair.
DeSantis’s flouting of coronavirus safety precautions and refusal to concede to the simplest of facts, such as the efficacy of wearing masks, has futher sculpted the craven image that the governor has chosen.
On Wednesday, South Florida’s largest publication, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, published a damning report that identifies just how insidious DeSantis’s mishandling of the coronavirus has been – including providing the public with “damning misinformation” by deliberately ignoring facts:
The DeSantis Administration’s approach to managing COVID-19 information carries costs. It supports a climate in which people proudly disdain masks, engage in dangerous group activities that could spread the disease, and brush aside information that conflicts with their political views. With partygoers packing Florida bars and holiday travelers filling hotels and guest rooms, the state faces a few difficult months before the possible relief of vaccines.
DeSantis did not merely bungle his response to the coronavirus. He has all but ignored the crisis entirely, the Sun-Sentinel wrote:
As Florida became a global epicenter of the coronavirus, Gov. Ron DeSantis held one meeting this month with his top public health official, Scott Rivkees, according to the governor’s schedule. His health department has sidelined scientists, halting briefings last month with disease specialists and telling the experts there was not sufficient personnel from the state to continue participating.
The Sun-Sentinel‘s investigation was based on the testinomy of “50 people, including scientists, doctors, political leaders, employees of the state health department, and other state officials, as well as more than 4,000 pages of documents,” the paper noted.
Thomas Unnasch, co-director of the Center for Global Health and Infectious Disease Research at the University of South Florida, told the Sun-Sentinel that DeSantis “is encouraging people who are of the opinion that the virus is not as severe and profound as others say it is and putting politics before science.”
Conditions became so dire that by the end of July, newspapers throughout Florida were pleading for DeSantis to act. But those calls went unanswered.
Making matters worse, the report discovered that the Florida Department of Health issued no public statements between September and the November 3 election, leaving millions of Floridians without real-time guidance on how to navigate the emergency.
Thus, as of Friday, Florida has seen more than a million COVID-19 cases and the death toll is approaching 19,000, making it the third-worst hot spot in the country. These figures do not include the expected surges from Thanksgiving and the upcoming Hanukkah and Christmas travel seasons.
Thank you to Alternet for covering this story.
Forty-seven days until the inauguration.