IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The problem(s) with DeSantis' new boasts about Florida, COVID

Given Florida's ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Ron DeSantis should probably avoid phrases such as "great success."


Just when it seemed Florida's public-health crisis couldn't get any worse, conditions in the Sunshine State deteriorated even further. The New York Times reported overnight, "More people in Florida are catching the coronavirus, being hospitalized and dying of Covid-19 now than at any previous point in the pandemic, underscoring the perils of limiting public health measures as the Delta variant rips through the state."

The same article added that this week, the virus is claiming the lives of roughly 227 Floridians per day, which is "by far the most in the United States right now."

It was against this backdrop that Florida's Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, returned to Fox News -- yes, again -- to push a curious message. As the Washington Post summarized:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said President Biden has failed to "end covid" and should follow his state's lead, even as Florida experiences record-breaking cases, deaths and hospitalizations.

Those are two related but distinct points, so let's take them one at a time.

First, there was the governor's assertion, in reference to Biden, "You know, he said he was going to end covid. He hasn't done that."

I suppose there's some truth to that, to the extent that the crisis is still ongoing, though the criticism is hopelessly bizarre. The president is in a powerful office, but the idea that Biden can snap his fingers, in Thanos-like fashion, and magically bring a global pandemic to a swift end is foolish to the point of comedy.

What the president can do is put the pieces in place for success -- and the Democrat has done exactly that. Biden's efforts to end this nightmare would almost certainly be further along were it not for those whose passivity and indifference have made matters worse.

Or put another way, to the extent that assigning blame is a worthwhile exercise, DeSantis and his cohorts shoulder far more responsibility than the White House for the fact that the crisis continues.

Second, there's the governor's idea that Florida is some kind of model worthy of emulation.

"We are the first state to start the treatment centers for monoclonal antibodies," DeSantis during the interview. "We're having great success with that. That should have been a bigger plan, a bigger part of this whole response throughout the country from the beginning."

It's a bit like listening to an official, who's undermined efforts to install sprinklers and fire extinguishers, brag about the efficacy of a local burn unit treating some fire victims.

There are several core truths in Florida that are inescapable. COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and fatalities have never been worse. School districts across the state feel the need to defy the governor's political wishes when it comes to protecting kids against the virus. Prominent Florida businesses are defying DeSantis, too. The state's funeral homes and crematories are "overwhelmed" with "an influx of bodies like they've never seen." On a range of issues related to the pandemic, most Floridians believe the governor has the wrong approach to the crisis.

In light of all of this, perhaps DeSantis should avoid phrases such as "great success"?