The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, May 02, 2020

A Measured Plan in FL

When Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) of Florida decided not to implement a draconian statewide shutdown a month ago, Team Apocalypse predicted death and destruction on an apocalyptic scale for my home state. Florida's hospitals would be overwhelmed, they wailed. Ventilators would be rationed, they screeched. Irresponsible, they growled. Like most pronouncements driven by hysteria (or some other ulterior motive), none of that came to pass. And when Jacksonville's beaches opened up, Team Apocalypse implied that DeSantis and Jacksonville's political leaders were no different than the leaders at Jonestown.

Amanda Prestigiacomo summarizes DeSantis's more recent responses to the Team Apocalypse attacks:
Asked about criticism that he’s the face for not implementing a full shutdown early on, DeSantis let the media have it...

“We’ve had people in the hospital, but I am now in a situation where I have less than 500 people at a state of 22 million on ventilators as of last night,” he added. “And I have 6,500 ventilators that are sitting idle, unused throughout the state of Florida.”

Captioning the video clip of his forceful explanation to the media, DeSantis wrote Wednesday: “Florida has done better than anyone predicted. We have a big, diverse state that requires a tailored and measured approach. Data and science have helped us flatten the curve in a safe way.”

As noted by The Daily Wire last week, DeSantis similarly explained on Fox News that Florida has slowed the spread of COVID-19 while causing minimal economic and social damage to the state by tailoring their response.

“People were predicting us to be worse than New York, like another Italy,” the governor told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “They said that this week, one of the newspapers in Florida said we would have 464,000 people hospitalized. The actual number is 2,200. So we beat that by 462,000. But what we did very early was focus on the populations who are most at risk – our senior citizens, and particularly our nursing homes and assisted living facilities.”

“We instituted screening for all staff immediately, we stopped visitation, we required all staff to wear N95 masks,” DeSantis explained. “I charged the National Guard with doing strike teams and spot testing at the facility to try to figure out if any of the staff are asymptomatic. Whenever there was an incident at a nursing home, we send these quick response teams to go and try to limit some infections … We’ve put out almost six million masks just to our nursing homes and assisted living facilities and so we understood the risk that this posed to the senior population.”
It's worth noting three additional facts that should have resulted in a bad outcome for Florida. First, the state has a very large senior population. Second, in January and February, Florida hosted more international visitors (and potential COVID-19 vectors) than just about any other state other than NY and CA. Third, thousands of New York City residents fled their own hot zone and wound up in FL. These facts should have resulted in a bad outcome. Interesting that in a state that did not shutdown, that bad outcome didn't materialize.

If members of Team Apocalypse can set aside their hysteria (or what other ulterior motive they have) for just a moment, they might ponder why FL, a state that was less draconian in its shutdown than states that were absolutist, did far better by any reasonable measure than many of those states.