Governor DeSantis just keeps getting better
Florida governor Ron DeSantis has shown real star quality throughout 2020, thanks to his temperate handling of the Wuhan virus. He refused to put his state into lockdown but still managed to keep Florida from turning into a Wuhan virus nightmare. On Monday, he also proved that he knows how to handle the hostile media. Other Republican politicians would do well to follow his lead.
California and Florida have been perfect examples of the two ways in which American states can handle the Wuhan virus because they're relatively close in size. California, which had around 39,512,223 people before they started fleeing the state this year, is America's most populous state. Florida, with approximately 21,477,737 people, is America's third most populous state. (Texas sits between the two with around 28,995,881 people.)
When the Wuhan virus hit, California embarked on a series of rolling lockouts. These varied from making most people prisoners of their own homes to regulations that destroyed small businesses and isolated people when they weren't making their permitted runs to Walmart or other huge retailers. The lockdowns devastated the California economy.
It turns out that the devastation the lockdowns have brought to California was all for nothing. California is now the sickest state in America:
California became the first state to record 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases, reaching the milestone on Christmas Eve as nearly the entire state was under a strict stay-at-home order and hospitals were flooded with the largest crush of cases since the pandemic began.
A tally by Johns Hopkins University showed the nation's most populous state has recorded 2,010,157 infections since January. At least 23,635 people have died from the virus.
The first COVID-19 case in California was confirmed Jan. 25. It took 292 days to get to 1 million infections on Nov. 11.
Just 44 days later, the number topped 2 million.
The state is responding by doubling down on the same lockdowns that didn't work to protect people in the first place (but that did destroy them economically). My gut instinct (no science or data involved) is that depriving people of sunlight and exercise, and casting them into deep depression, ultimately made them more vulnerable to the virus than they might otherwise have been.
Meanwhile, in Florida, Gov. DeSantis refused to go the lockdown route — and he made this choice despite Florida having more elderly people than any other state. Instead, DeSantis opted for protecting the vulnerable elderly population and allowing the rest of the state to function more or less as normal. As the data from Statista shows, Florida's Wuhan virus rate is comparable to California's, given their relative population:
The same relative ratio shows up in the number of deaths from the virus. (This assumes that the deaths actually came about from the Wuhan virus, not from the flu or other causes.) California has had 26,638 deaths while Florida has had 22,414 deaths. Again, the states are running neck and neck, but California took extraordinary precautions and destroyed itself, while Florida is still functioning.
Indeed, when you think about Florida's elderly population, the fact that its death rate is consistent with its population overall says DeSantis did as good a job protecting his older citizens as the lockdown states did with their elderly populations. What we're really seeing here is that the virus did what it was going to do, regardless of lockdowns.
The point of this discussion is that California's governor panicked, and Florida's governor did not. The latter shows leadership, the former immaturity.
That quality of leadership showed up again on Monday when a CNN "reporter" named Rosa Flores decided to use a press conference to give a speech. As most CNN reporters do, instead of just asking DeSantis a leading question about where he went wrong with his approach to the Wuhan virus, Flores wanted to attach to her question a long statement of the things she thinks he did wrong.
DeSantis completely cut her off. Then, when he finally allowed her to give her speech, he humiliated her chops as a reporter. Flores whined to the CNN audience about it, but anyone who respects leadership and despises the media is going to side with the governor:
Anyone who humiliates and embarrasses reporters like this has my vote. DeSantis rocks pic.twitter.com/56EUuvdPt0— Eduardo Neret (@eduneret) January 5, 2021
Don't you love how Flores keeps saying "with all due respect?" You and I know what that means: "I have no respect for you at all." It's also great that DeSantis explains that the government is not efficient and that he will never impose one-size-fits-all approaches when local or private institutions will do better.
And that's how you do it.
Image: Governor Ron DeSantis schools a CNN reporter. Twitter screen grab.