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America’s beloved COVID governor bears no responsibility for COVID disaster unfolding in his state


Here’s every mention of Ron DeSantis in a Times story about the COVID-19 catastrophe currently happening in his state:

While leaders in that state also refused lockdowns and mask orders, they made it a priority to vaccinate vulnerable older people. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, opened mass vaccination sites and sent teams to retirement communities and nursing homes. Younger people also lined up for shots.

Mr. DeSantis and public health experts expected a rise in cases this summer as people gathered indoors in the air-conditioning. But what happened was much worse: Cases spiraled out of control, reaching peaks higher than Florida had seen before. Hospitalizations followed. So did deaths, which are considerably higher than the numbers currently reached anywhere else in the country.


“Clearly the vaccines are keeping most of these people out of the hospital, but we’re not building the herd immunity that people hoped,” Mr. DeSantis said at a news conference this past week. “You’ve got a huge percentage of people — adults — that have gotten shots [sic], and yet you’ve still seen a wave.”


Unlike in places like Oregon, which is clamping down again, adopting even outdoor mask mandates, Mr. DeSantis continues to stay the course, hoping to power through despite the devastating human toll. A Quinnipiac University poll released this past week found that Mr. DeSantis’s approval rating was 47 percent.

He and other state officials have sought to steer away from measures that could curtail infections, banning strict mask mandates in public schools. The biggest school districts imposed them anyway, and on Friday, a state judge ruled that Florida could not prevent those mandates, a decision the Department of Education plans to appeal.

There’s some very, very mild implied pushback against is unwillingness to do anything to combat the worst-in-the-nation outbreak buried near the end of the piece, and that’s it. No mention that Florida’s vaccination rates are in fact mediocre, not good, despite vaccine reluctance being much lower among older people. Certainly no mention of the fact that DeSantis has banned any public or private entity from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination even if they require proof of other vaccinations. Nothing about how he has made coerced laissez-faire his personal political brand throughout the pandemic. Just an incredible whitewash. He can’t stop winning the pandemic!

The promotional tweet selling the story is even more misleading:

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