COVID-19 is back… well it never went away. Now we have the Delta Variant, a strain of Asian Indian origin that is “COVID-19 on steroids,” according to Andy Slavitt a former Senior Advisor to President Joe Biden’s Covid response team. Vaccination is the best defense against the Delta Variant but given the low percentage of Floridians that are fully vaccinated (a tick under 47% as of Tuesday), local citizens are likely again going to need the governments closest to them to ensure measures are taken to increase protections.
But in Governor Ron DeSantis, Floridians have a head-of-state that does not allow local governments to enforce basic public health measures and instead has centralized power in the Governor’s office. Municipal and County officials are helpless when it comes to mask mandates and private businesses are unable to protect their customers or employees by requiring vaccination information.
To the credit for the Governor has pushed timidly the idea of vaccination but has allowed that message to be obscured by his political grandstanding on the topic and general anti-local government and anti-business ideology.
With this new, even deadlier form of a virus that has already killed close to 38,000 Floridians circulating, local officials should have the flexibility to protect not only local citizens but the business that drive the economy as well.
Is it possible DeSantis will relent with this newer deadlier strain becoming a threat? Unlikely, as Florida is also now one of the few states no longer reporting daily Covid-19 cases or deaths and the state has gone to court to prevent business from taking basic public health measures measures to protect their staff and consumers.
Unfortunately for Floridians, DeSantis’ attitude toward COVD-19 could lead to a long and scary winter as the Delta Variant inevitably spreads among un-vaccinated people, and some vaccinated people take a selfish attitude toward masking.