“It is very important that we say unequivocally ‘no’ to lockdowns, ‘no’ to school closures, ‘no’ to restrictions and ‘no’ to mandates.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (7-29-21)

“How well will that (Florida) economy hold up as potential visitors realize that the Sunshine state has become extremely dangerous.” 

Dr. Paul Krugman, economist (8-2-21)

My father and all of my grandparents were immigrants. When I was a senior level national healthcare exec, I had an opportunity to sit down one on one with former NY Governor Mario Cuomo.  Great guy. We talked about our affectionate Italian mothers who grounded us with their love. 

That’s one reason why I was unhappy to hear about the recent sexual harassment allegations against NY Governor Andrew Cuomo. And I’m not overjoyed with some of the Covid decisions he made. But at least Cuomo has made some good decisions as well.  

I can’t say that about Florida Governor DeSantis, whose great grandparents came to the USA from Italy at almost the same time that my maternal grandparents did. I’m especially disappointed in DeSantis’ reaction to the Covid-19 virus crisis. DeSantis has taken a “stick your head in the ground”, ostrich like approach to the pandemic (similar to his idol, former President Trump). For this reason, Florida is in deep trouble, regarding both its health and economy. 

From the beginning of the pandemic, DeSantis has ignored science, deciding that pandemic heroes like Dr. Fauci were somehow the real problem. That’s the main reason that as of today (8-3-21), Florida has only 58% of its residents with at least one shot versus Vermont with 76%. Vaccinations have just not been a DeSantis priority. 

When it comes to masks, the situation is even worse. DeSantis acts as though the big issue facing us is government intrusion, versus death and illness via Covid-19. He has decided to overrule cities and counties and make sure masks are not mandated in schools. 

And, the virus is very bad in Florida. Florida has had an astronomical number of cases, over 2.5 million. And, with 85,178 cases in the last 7 days (397/100k), it’s getting much worse. The 7-day case positivity rate is 15-20%, while the national goal is under 5%. 

There is no easy way to say how bad these numbers really are other than to look at other states where the Governor has taken the pandemic more seriously. For example, let’s look at Bernie Sanders’ home state of Vermont. Vermont has a positivity rate of under 3% (versus 15-20% for Florida) and 13/100k cases for the last 7 days (versus 397/100k for Florida). Clearly, Florida is losing the Covid-19 battle, if not the entire war. 

And what has DeSantis been doing? Going in the opposite direction from reality, as the above quote illustrates. Because he has refused to act, many localities have attempted to. Orange County declared a state of emergency, requiring vaccinations for its employees, as did Leon County. Miami-Dade has begun mandating masks. The Broward Board of Education stated that it would require students to wear masks but had to backtrack. Even though the child infection rate is skyrocketing, reactionary DeSantis threatened Broward with a total loss of state funding if they required masks. That’s absolutely the wrong message to send. 

Meanwhile, the private sector is doing what DeSantis refuses to do. Disney World is requiring masks for both employees and guests. Others are sure to follow. 

As we enter yet darker days with the pandemic, the only question left is “who will DeSantis blame this time”? Jewish space lasers sent by Dr. Fauci and radical Democrats to spread the virus? As former Governor Crist once said, “Just like our former president, he always takes credit but never takes responsibility.”


Image Credit: the feature caricature of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was created by DonkeyHotey (Flickr/Creative Commons).

Jack Bernard

Jack Bernard

Jack A Bernard is a retired SVP with a national healthcare corporation. He was Chair of the Jasper County, Ga Board of Commissioners and Republican Party. He was also on the Board of Health for Jasper County and is currently on the Fayette County BOH. Bernard has over 100 columns published annually, primarily in the South.