Florida’s governor will be reprimanded by the media. Ron DeSantis is a Republican presidential candidate in 2024. He flouted the conventional wisdom regarding Covid restrictions, opening up Florida for businesses and schools earlier than his peers. Friday’s New York Times story “Florida Curtails Coronavirus Mandates, Reflecting Wishes of Vaccine Skeptics” by Miami bureau chief Patricia Mazzei tries to link the pro-vaccine DeSantis to fringe anti-vaccine voices.
In the early part of this year Gov. Ron DeSantis made a tour of Florida, promoting the coronavirus vaccines, visiting retirement communities, hospitals and celebrating those who have had their shot.
But it was a remarkably different picture this week, when Florida’s lieutenant governor, Jeanette Nuñez, was a prominent speaker at a rally organized by anti-vaccination activists on the State Capitol steps.
This shocking scene was a win for vaccine skeptics from Florida and pushed the state away from federal guidance in public health. reflecting how a highly politicized pandemic has only become more so as Republican-controlled states confront the Biden administration’s wide-ranging attempts to ease it.
The state Republican Party passed legislation this week to curb mandates for vaccine and mask use during a special session to counter federal overreach. Mazzei was able to transform DeSantis from an anti-vaxxer.
“No nurse, no firefighter, no police officer, no trucker — no anybody — should lose their job because of these Covid jabs,” Mr. DeSantis, who has taken to dismissing the vaccinations as “jabs” or “injections,” said on Thursday before signing the bills….
“Jabs” is what the vaccination goes by the United Kingdom. Is this the same as denying vaccinations?
Groups have gained power by opposing vaccination requirements Republican legislators did not seem to be able to resist the views of these fringe advocates on vaccinations.A striking departure from the past Florida politics
Mazzei, on the other hand, allowed fringe Democratic voices to run wild.
“The conscience of their caucus has been hijacked by extremes,” said Representative Ramon Alexander, a Tallahassee Democrat. “It’s a danger to democracy.”
Mazzei was slow to realize that Florida vaccination rates weren’t an issue.
Florida has seen about 60,800 deaths from Covid-19. The state was hit hard by the virus this summer, when the Delta variant filled hospitals in much of the state with more patients than at any time during the pandemic. The wave was over, however. Recent days have seen a decline in hospitalizations and new cases. About 61 percent of Florida’s population is fully vaccinated, slightly higher than the national average, according to federal data.
Even that didn’t stop the TimesRetransmitting partisan criticism.
Critics have accused the governor of fighting against mandates, resulting in unnecessary deaths. Florida experienced its worst daily death tolls during this year’s summer surge, when vaccines were already widely available.
The governor’s dalliance with vaccine doubters may have begun in April, when Mr. DeSantis declined to get his Johnson & Johnson shot in public, joking that he did not need to show off his biceps. He has declined to comment. If he’s had a booster recommended or plans to have one.)
(It’s not enough to be merely vaccinated – now you have to get your booster shots religiously to be considered truly and fully vaccinated in the eyes of the Times.)