A federal judge in Florida on Wednesday left intact Gov. Ron DeSantis’ statewide ban on mask mandates in schools, adding to his list of decidedly harmful anti-science behaviors during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, a group of Florida parents sued the state over the ban — first enacted in July — arguing the policy endangers their children, all of whom have special needs and face heightened risks if they contract the coronavirus. The parents argued the ban violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws designed to protect the rights of people with disabilities.
U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore for the Southern District of Florida batted down their pleas and issued a ruling Wednesday that called many of the plaintiffs' claims "speculative," "wholly untethered to the allegations" and "without merit.”
DeSantis, whose state has seen record spikes in Covid-related deaths and hospitalizations over the last few months, has doubled down on his anti-science policies since opposing public safety measures early in the pandemic. Aside from his ban on mask requirements of any sort in schools, DeSantis and his associates have also eagerly spread Covid disinformation.
DeSantis has repeatedly given a platform to coronavirus conspiracy theorists, known and unknown. In a televised press conference just this week, he allowed a city employee to falsely claim coronavirus vaccines “change your RNA.”
The governor believes his ticket to political ascension lies in pandemic conspiracy and misinformation.
In April, a discussion panel DeSantis hosted had to be taken off YouTube because it ran afoul of the site’s rules about spreading Covid misinformation. During the panel, DeSantis allowed a Harvard Medical School professor named Martin Kulldorff to declare that children shouldn’t wear masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
“They don’t need it for their own protection, and they don’t need it for protecting other people either,” Kulldorff said.
That’s not true at all either. In Florida, the rate of youth hospitalizations multiplied tenfold between June and August alone. But the ignorant opposition to public health aligns with DeSantis’ overtly anti-science policies, and it explains how some Floridians have taken to calling him Ron “Death” Santis.
Unfortunately for his state, the governor’s anti-science policies are not tapering off. To the contrary, expect more of them: DeSantis’ public attacks on President Joe Biden for the administration's health safety measures show the governor believes his ticket to political ascension lies in pandemic conspiracy and misinformation.
Floridians! All who are not bedridden with the coronavirus: Hail your Covid King!
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