It’s hard to believe, but the US was first hit with Covid-19 way back in January of 2020. In four months, it will be 2 years of living with the hell of the deaths and illnesses caused by the virus. Plus, the annoyances of quarantines, mandates and vaccines. 

Of course, back in 2020 almost everyone thought that we would be through with Covid by now. But the virus is like the honey badger; it doesn’t care what we think. It has a mind of its own and wants to survive, so it’s mutating daily. Reading between the lines, it would not surprise me if I will be getting an annual Covid shot for the rest of my life.  

Florida is a unique case study in regard to handling the Covid-19 outbreak. Florida’s Governor DeSantis has always been an ambitious, head strong sort of politician. He made the decision early on that he was going to take a laissez fair approach to dealing with the virus. So, Florida went its own way, often against medical advice.  

Per DeSantis in November 2020, “states that are locked down are increasing at twice the rate we are.” And there was some validity to what he stated. Initially, Florida did reasonably well. But in more recent months Florida has been punched right between the eyes.  

Florida is currently averaging nearly 22,000 Covid cases a day. With 80 hospitalizations per 100k population it has a higher rate of hospitalizations than any other state (two-week period), nearly triple the national average. And hospitalizations have gone up 17% while deaths are up 87% in just the last two weeks. Furthermore, the positivity rate for those tested is nearly 20%, as opposed to a national goal of under 5%. 

The real question is “where does the state go from here?”. DeSantis has made his feelings known. He’s against government taking a more active role in controlling the virus.  

DeSantis prefers to take the “hopes and prayers” route for dealing with the virus, much like he did with guns and the victims of the Parkland massacre in 2018. DeSantis joined many other conservative politicians who after every mass shooting send their “hopes and prayers” to the victim’s families, but never take any action to control guns. 

But there are things that can be done to make a difference. He can mandate vaccinations for state employees and all independent organizations receiving state funds, like hospitals. He can endorse businesses mandating vaccinations for their employees. He can mandate standards for businesses regarding seating and spacing. DeSantis can stop trying to prevent local governments from slowing down the transmission of the virus. For example, he can halt his campaign to intimidate school systems into permitting unmasked students. He can instead endorse a state-wide mask mandate for all schools.  

There is little chance that DeSantis will take any of these measures, even as the Covid-19 crisis gets worse in many counties. However, the next time someone tells you that there’s nothing that can be done, remember that there most certainly is… if you have the political will.

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Image Credit: the feature image of DeSantis holding a Covid-19 vaccine needle and a gun shaped like Florida is a composite image created by LikeTheDew.com using a base photo of Ron DeSantis by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and used under a Creative Commons license; the other image were borrowed from clipart and commercial sites (fair use).

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.