Politicians on both sides of the aisle have faced criticism for their handling of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic over the course of the past year.
As Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared during a recent Fox News Channel interview, however, his state did things right while Democratic-led states with strict lockdowns got it all wrong.
“The facts don’t support it”
The governor’s victory lap came amid new evidence that progressive policies in states like New York and California failed to significantly reduce mortality rates.
For his part, DeSantis spent much of the pandemic on the receiving end of opprobrium from pundits who claimed his administration’s relaxed approach to shutdowns threatened the lives of his constituents. The latest results, however, tell a different story.
If lockdowns were effective, it would seem that Florida would be in much worse shape than New York. Instead, the Empire State has nearly twice the per-capita death rate despite its comparatively more draconian approach.
In his recent on-air conversation with host Brian Kilmeade, DeSantis pointed out the disparity between his state and those that had been “invested” in lockdown measures that had little to do with relevant scientific facts.
“I think that these guys are invested in lockdowns — I get that, the facts don’t support it,” the governor said. “Look, if the lockdowns worked then Florida would be way worse than New York and these other states.”
Florida compares favorably
DeSantis is riding high on praise from his own party and beyond — including in the form of a recent Wall Street Journal article on the subject that declared “vindication” for his response to the public health crisis. Florida’s population is one of the oldest in the nation, but the death rate among Florida seniors was roughly 20% lower than in California and a whopping 50% lower than in New York.
Other promising statistics include reports that employment declined by just 4.6% in Florida last year — lower than California’s 8% drop and New York’s 10.4% decline.
Meanwhile, the Democratic governors of California and New York — Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo — are facing recall efforts or calls to resign over scandals based, at least in part, on their handling of the crisis.
DeSantis appeared to be doing his best not to brag, telling Kilmeade that he believes Floridians “really, really appreciate the way” the state handled the pandemic.