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NY Times Blames Governor DeSantis for Florida Doing As Well as the Rest of the United States
Despite "working for weeks", reporters failed to find any harms, yet blamed DeSantis for nothing anyway
The New York Times published an angry article lambasting Florida governor Ron DeSantis for the "steep cost" of his Covid decisions.
In the best traditions of "fake news," however, the title of the article does not match its content, and it does not match the reality of what happened in Florida - because even the dishonest New York Times could not find evidence of "steep cost" of Florida's COVID decisions.
With a straight face, the newspaper recalls the freakout of then-Florida's Surgeon General about DeSantis listening to experts who believed the virus’s threat was overstated:
“‘You won’t believe what happened,’” she said he told her. Months before Covid vaccines would become available, Gov. Ron DeSantis had decided that the worst was over for Florida, he said. Mr. DeSantis had begun listening to doctors who believed the virus’s threat was overstated, and he no longer supported preventive measures like limiting indoor dining.
Mr. DeSantis was going his own way on Covid.
Further highlighting the sins of Florida’s governor, the NY Times points out that he was cavorting with the evil Covid skeptics:
Mr. DeSantis urged older people to get vaccinated, even telling officials in a heavily Republican county to “get those numbers up.”
But his enthusiasm for shots waned fast, tracking the growing hostility toward them among the party’s conservative activists. In late February, when Mr. DeSantis hosted a gathering of such activists for the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, he boasted that Florida was an “oasis of freedom” in a nation led by misguided health authorities.
His opposition to vaccines is especially upsetting to the authors.
By the time all adults became eligible for the vaccines in April of that year, Mr. DeSantis was rarely promoting them.
“Some are choosing not to take it, which is fine,” he said in March, at a 100-minute public event on Covid in which he did not once urge people to get vaccinated. In dozens of appearances on Fox News in the first half of 2021, he was carefully neutral about shots, except for those over 65.
A new state law, signed by Mr. DeSantis in May, bans government agencies, businesses and schools from requiring Covid testing, vaccination or mask wearing.
The accusations are particularly laughable because despite trying hard, NY Times could not find any evidence of actual harm. Florida did better for Covid deaths (age-adjusted) than the rest of the nation:
Overall, the state’s death rate during the pandemic, adjusted for age, ended up better than the national average. Some public health experts credit the state’s robust health system and strong performance in the pandemic’s first year or so.
Not a word of thanks to DeSantis for Florida's "robust health system,” but I digress.
Overall, this article seems to be a collection of innuendo mixed with evidence — which shows that there was no "steep cost" to DeSantis's leadership in Florida. Why would the NY Times post such an article? I guess it does not respect its readers, does not expect them to read its articles critically, and was ordered by its sponsors to smear DeSantis for reasons other than honestly exploring the history of Covid.
On Nursing Home Deaths
Several of my relatives ended their lives at nursing homes. They were loved by their children and grandchildren, and we visited them often. They were not abandoned but needed professional care that we could not provide. All three died relatively soon after admission, as their lives were on a terminal trajectory due to old age and dementia, and their deaths were sadly anticipated.
I am disappointed about how "nursing home deaths" are covered in the press and sometimes even in anti-vax literature. Yes, nursing home residents are people, and their lives are valuable. However, patients are admitted to nursing homes for a reason: usually, the residents are unable to care for themselves and are on a certain path to death.
Therefore, a goal such as "saving lives of nursing home residents" is not very meaningful because these residents, for the most part, are facing unstoppable terminal declines and have a poor quality of life. The median length of stay in a nursing home is only five months.
Thus, any sort of policy that “saves nursing home residents”, is negated by the fact that most saved residents would die shortly thereafter. The New York Times grudgingly admits that Florida did better than New York because it tried to insulate nursing home residents, thanks to nudges from Covid-skeptic experts supporting the Barrington declaration:
The governor had early success in following his instincts. In 2020, the state supplied its nearly 4,000 long-term care homes with Covid tests and isolated Covid patients, avoiding New York’s mistake of releasing Covid patients from hospitals to nursing homes where they infected others. Florida’s death rate in the pandemic’s first year, adjusted for age, was lower than all but 10 other states’.
While the above does demonstrate that DeSantis made superior choices, the effect of those choices, in the long run, was minimal.
Policy Had Little Effect on Overall Mortality
The total excess mortality of Florida is strikingly similar to that of the entire United States, despite older than average population of the Sunshine State:
The early advantage of Florida in mortality, shown above, was realized due to the smarter handling of nursing homes. However, nursing homes are where people go to die, so eventually, these mortality advantages were reversed, and Florida ended up exactly where the rest of the United States did.
Both antivaxxers, as well as vaccine advocates often overestimate the effect of COVID policy on real-world outcomes. The Covid virus is smarter than us. It infected almost everyone. The masks did not work, so states supporting or opposing them did not create a difference in mortality. The governors, presidents, etc, are widely mistrusted. The vaccines, at best, did not work either.
Nevertheless, the failed article by the New York Times shows that DeSantis does deserve credit for the accomplishments of Florida.
They are trying hard to stop him from having a shot at the next presidency.
Question to discuss: who would you prefer as the next President? Kennedy, DeSantis, support both, or someone else?
Let us know!