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As Florida's COVID crisis worsens, Biden admin sends ventilators

DeSantis doesn't want to "hear a blip about COVID" from Biden, but he does want to receive life-saving medical equipment from the Biden administration.


By every relevant metric, Florida's COVID crisis is drastic and getting worse. In a development reminiscent of the spring of 2020, state officials earlier this week reportedly requested hundreds of ventilators from the federal government, to help struggling patients breathe.

Yesterday, however, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) suggested those reports may not be accurate, telling the ABC affiliate in Miami, "I would honestly doubt that that's true." The Republican added, in reference to appeals for ventilators, "I have not had any requests across my desk. I haven't been notified of that."

It was against this backdrop that NBC News reported yesterday afternoon:

The federal government has sent hundreds of ventilators and other equipment this week to help Florida respond to a record number of Covid hospitalizations. The devices, which came from the federal government's Strategic National Stockpile, included 200 ventilators and 100 smaller breathing devices and related supplies, said an official of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The report added that the equipment request came from "local and state health officials."

As a public-health matter, the ventilators and related supplies are important tools to help address an intensifying crisis in the Sunshine State. Cases, hospitalizations, and even fatalities are climbing in Florida, and the equipment will no doubt be put to good use.

But as a political matter, the developments aren't altogether convenient for DeSantis, who recently held a press conference in which he delivered a message to President Biden: "Until you [secure the U.S./Mexico border, I don't want to hear a blip about COVID from you."

Evidently, the Republican doesn't want to "hear a blip about COVID" from Biden, but he does want to receive life-saving media equipment from the Biden administration.

Postscript: As these events unfold, it's easy to remember the spring of 2020, as the pandemic first started taking a severe toll in the United States, and Donald Trump said governors expecting supplies should "treat us well," referring to White House officials.

The then-president went on to say he wanted governors to be "appreciative," and he'd told then-Vice President Mike Pence not to return the phone calls of Democratic governors "if they don't treat you right."

Fortunately, the executive branch is operating far differently in 2021.