The anti-Trump conservative group known as The Lincoln Project went after Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis this week, describing the incendiary governor as a “public health threat.” Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, DeSantis has consistently refused calls to take the virus more seriously, and he has sought to block the implementation of basic safety measures across the state. Recently, he even signed an executive order outlining how his administration could withhold state funds from schools where mask mandates are in place — although local education officials in certain areas have opted to move forward with at least some form of a face mask-wearing policy anyway.
As The Lincoln Project succinctly put it on Twitter:
‘Ron DeSantis is a public health threat.’
Ron DeSantis is a public health threat.
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) August 9, 2021
Local officials who’ve decided to stick by safety precautions include the Duval County School Board, which, The Washington Post explains, recently voted “to mandate masks in the classroom with an opt-out option for parents.” Alachua County school officials have also opted to mandate masks, at least as of last week. That mandate covers just the first two weeks of school, and Alachua County Public Schools Superintendent Carlee Simon insisted during the meeting where that was imposed that, for local officials “to be able to do the business of running a school district, we need people masked.” Alachua County Public Schools spokeswoman Jackie Johnson added that officials “are certainly hoping that the governor and other state leaders recognize that their goal is our goal: to keep schools open.”
While COVID-19 has substantially affected older populations throughout the country, no age group is somehow automatically immune from the virus’s potentially devastating effects. Throughout Florida, COVID-19 hospitalizations have soared recently amid the rise of what’s known as the delta variant of the virus. On Monday, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried — who is a Democrat — reported on Twitter that the most recent numbers showed a staggering total of almost 14,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations across Florida, with the state’s average daily hospitalizations remaining substantially ahead of every other state. Those who are hospitalized with COVID-19 could face substantive long-term effects from their illnesses, and yet, DeSantis continues to resist basic safety precautions.
2,836 Floridians are in ICU beds right now fighting COVID-19, as reported by 257 hospitals to @HHSGov.
88.85% of all Florida ICU beds are in use, 257 hospitals reporting. 44.76% are being used for COVID-19 patients, 251 hospitals reporting.
Get vaccinated. Stay well.
— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) August 9, 2021