How Badly Will DeSantis' Ideological Approach To Covid Impact Floridians In A Next Wave? Hint: Badly
Like Russia's Putin and India's Modi, Florida's DeSantis has played fast and loose with pandemic statistical reports, more so than any other governor. Florida's stats are the least reliable of any state in the union. And even with that we can still see Floridians have suffered unnecessarily through the pandemic. Even under DeSantis' phony stats, 74,000 Floridians have died.
Counties that voted heavily for DeSantis and Trump have pitifully low vaccination rates. The ten least vaccinated counties are all deep red, socially backward counties where people get their information from conspiracy theory websites rather than from legitimate sources. All ten voted for Trump and DeSantis in huge numbers. The people who live in these hell-holes are in great danger now.
Holmes- 30% fully vaccinated (89.0% for Trump)
Washington- 33% fully vaccinated (80.1% for Trump)
Glades- 34% fully vaccinated (72.7% for Trump)
Liberty- 34% fully vaccinated (79.8% for Trump)
Dixie- 34% fully vaccinated (82.7% for Trump)
Calhoun- 35% fully vaccinated (80.7% for Trump)
Hamilton- 35% fully vaccinated (63.3% for Trump)
Union- 36% fully vaccinated (82.1% for Trump)
Baker- 36% fully vaccinated (84.6% for Trump)
Gilchrist- 37% fully vaccinated (81.4% for Trump)
Arek Sarkissian reported this morning that "As Covid infections begin creeping up again across the country, current and former health officials in Florida are warning that the state remains woefully underprepared to handle the next wave of the pandemic. Florida’s 250-plus hospitals are still facing staffing shortages that continue to worsen as the Covid-19 pandemic drags on... A report by the association estimates 70 percent of Florida hospitals are facing a critical staffing shortage, and the state will be short 60,000 nurses by 2035."
America is also facing a new stage in the pandemic, one focused on risk acceptance over shutdowns and mandates. The CDC last week reported nearly 60 percent of people in the U.S. have antibodies for the virus, with the numbers even higher for children, a significant increase from previous estimates. Most major cities are no longer instituting mask mandates. Vaccines are readily available for most Americans. Even a positive Covid diagnosis is treated with less anxiety for healthy people...
Part of that lack of preparedness stems from ongoing supply chain issues. Medical supply shortages that left the entire world scrambling for essential items such as facemasks, ventilators, swabs and hospital gowns could return with a new virus surge, especially with a continued heavy reliance on foreign manufacturers.
“The supply chain issues we had in the beginning, have we done anything about them? The answer is nothing,” [former director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management who helped lead the state through the first year of the pandemic. Jared] Moskowitz said.
[Florida Hospital Association president and CEO Mary] Mayhew agreed, highlighting that the medical industry still relies on overseas markets such as China, which all but shut down during the pandemic.
“We’re vulnerable because of where so much of our product is coming from,” Mayhew said.
Another factor in Florida’s Covid preparedness is Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has fought against Covid-related restrictions, shutdowns and mandates. During the deadly Delta variant surge over the summer and fall, DeSantis prohibited schools from implementing mask mandates for students. He also banned large businesses from implementing vaccine requirements for workers and pushed monoclonal antibody treatments over vaccines.
“We have the vendors in place and we have the supplies,” Florida’s Department of Emergency Management spokesperson Samantha Bequer said. “Just like a hurricane, Florida is prepared.”
The medical resource shortages early in the pandemic, however, quickly wiped out what little resources the state had on hand, making restocking all the more difficult. Moskowitz, for example, ended up converting a media briefing room in the state’s emergency center to a bullpen for staffers so they could call suppliers around the world. The swabs needed for Covid tests, for example, were only made by a supplier in Italy.
The Florida Department of Health now oversees the state’s distribution of personal protective equipment. Health department spokesman Jeremy Redfern said much of the testing and diagnosis has been left up to the private sector. If someone has Covid-19 symptoms, for example, they can visit a doctor who will refer them for testing. The health department will, however, furnish supplies to counties upon request.
“In the realm of expanding operations, that’s in the realm of the counties,” Redfern said.
Now think about the folks in the 10 counties listed above. Bleach? Floridians are still taken in by DeSantis but most Americans have a pretty negative opinion of him. In the most recent YouGov poll for The Economist, 37% of registered voters expressed favorable opinions about the world-be next president. 41% expressed unfavorable opinions and the rest either didn't now who he is or didn't have any opinion. Many people are getting to know him now because of his irrational jihad against Disney, Florida's biggest private employer. Heavily pushed by Trump-- who has now soured on him-- was elected governor very narrowly-- 4,076,186 (49.6%) to 4,043,723 (49.2%). He can count on the folks in Holmes, Washington, Glades, Liberty, Dixie, Calhoun, Hamilton, Union, Baker, Gilchrist counties but what about swing counties that decide elections in Florida, like Hillsborough, Duval, Pinellas and Seminole-- all won by Biden-- and St. Lucie and Monroe that went to Trump by narrow margins?