Ron DeSantis Roasted By Home-State Paper Over COVID Failures

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In a new op-ed, the Orlando Sentinel — a major Central Florida newspaper — slammed Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for his recklessness amid the COVID-19 crisis in his state. Throughout much of the summer, Florida was among the states with the most new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the nation — and yet, DeSantis opted amidst this tragedy to focus on fighting basic safety precautions instead of undertaking even the simple step of a more vigorous statewide push for vaccinations. DeSantis worked to expand the availability of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 — which help after someone is already sick and thus vulnerable to more serious outcomes.

As the Sentinel put it:

‘Florida’s summer of suffering was also a summer of silence for Ron DeSantis. The governor had nearly nothing to say about his state’s lengthy run as No. 1 in the nation in COVID cases, No. 1 in hospitalizations and No. 1 in deaths. Instead, the governor held almost daily news conferences intended to burnish his presidential bona fides among the MAGA crowd, and boost his presidential ambitions. Through it all, the governor pointedly ignored the elephant in the room: That Florida — his state, his responsibility — was the epicenter for a deadly new COVID outbreak caused by the delta variant. With numbers finally falling, DeSantis now has the gall, the nerve, to take a victory lap.’

Clearly, the Editorial Board behind the new op-ed from the Sentinel is unimpressed — to say the least — with DeSantis’s “victory lap,” which came in part in the form of a recent press release touting Florida’s current standing towards the bottom of the pack in terms of rates of new cases in individual states. That press release insisted that “[as] a result of Governor Ron DeSantis’ leadership and our data-driven approach free of mandates, the State of Florida has one of the lowest COVID-19 daily average case rates in the last 7 days per 100,000 residents in the United States.” The problem is that it took about 21,000 COVID-19 deaths in Florida throughout the summer to get to that point, many more than were recorded in California, another state with both a high population and warm weather.

As the Sentinel put it:

‘As we’ve said before, DeSantis was right to ramp up the availability of antibody treatment sites for Floridians. It probably saved lives and prevented some hospitalizations. But the governor is now trying to draw a direct and dishonest line between those treatments and both falling hospitalizations and cases… [DeSantis] could have at least acknowledged the COVID crisis his state was facing and urged his constituents to act thoughtfully and responsibly. But he didn’t, calculating that ignorance was political bliss. And now, the do-nothing governor is trying to claim credit for this surge coming to an end. It is DeSantis’ final and most essential command — to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. How Orwellian.’

Unfortunately, DeSantis is widely perceived as a potential Republican presidential contender in the event that Donald Trump doesn’t run. Read more from the Sentinel’s take-down of DeSantis at this link.