Each passing news cycle, Governor DeSantis continues to make incredible claims about COVID-19 in Florida and twisting what is in fact scientific and what is political.
Ever since last summer when we learned Dr. Scott Atlas had a line into Governor DeSantis, the concept of “herd immunity,” has guided much of the Governor’s thinking and rhetoric as scientific justification to keep Florida open and prevent local elected officials from doing their jobs.
Yesterday, the Governor continued his obsession with this topic by implying breakthrough infections are common and that vaccines as a result are not effective against contracting COVID-19 but are in fact a form of proactive treatment against severe illness.
“You know the breakthroughs are not that rare…The vaccinations have been effective against preventing severe illness, but it hasn’t created the type of herd immunity that we hoped.”Governor Ron DeSantis, September 7, 2021
DeSantis continues to utter unbelievable words when it comes to vaccines and COVID. The reality is among the unvaccinated, the risk of getting COVID-19 is far greater and Florida’s ICU units have been overrun with unvaccinated Floridians. But let’s say vaccinations aren’t as effective as hoped, how then does the Governor justify his continued obstruction of masking, a cheap, and a relatively unintrusive way of mitigating the viruses spread?
In fact it can be argued wearing a mask is far less intrusive than getting two shots of a [powerful vaccine injected in your body. But of course for DeSantis neither masking or vaxxing is on the agenda from his bully pulpit any longer, so a comparison between the two is not necessary for him.
Last Friday in Pensacola the Governor implied vaccines were a personal choice and had no impact on other Floridians.
“It’s about your health and whether you want that protection or not. It really doesn’t impact me or anyone else.”Ron DeSantis, September 3, 2021
This quote is a direct result of DeSantis reacting to the boos that former President Donald Trump was showered with in Alabama last month when suggesting to his MAGA rally. DeSantis now is claiming it’s okay to be selfish and to not care about thy neighbor. Trump’s gaffe opened the door even further for DeSantis, whose authoritarian behavior and acidic rhetoric of late has allowed him to eclipse Trump as the truly “manly,” figure that likes to “own the libs,” right-wing audiences crave.
The lack of consideration for public health and safety is par for the course for some conservatives because ever since they pushed reform on torts, product liability and medical malpractice in this state, it’s been clear some on the right believe pain, suffering and even death is acceptable if it does not interfere with the gears of the economy.
Herd Immunity has been used as a talking point on the right to justify rampant spread of the virus, opposing masking guidelines and mandates as well as “scientific” justification for policy decisions that go against the vast majority of scientific evidence.
The irony of this of course being that psychological factors impact the economy and Florida is losing out potentially long-term on tourism particularly from outside the US, the longer the state remains a visible hot spot for COVID-19.
So it is plainly clear that the Governor will push whatever buttons rhetorically pleases right-wing audiences while sacrificing the public healthy considerations and yes lives of Floridians. His bully pulpit is effectively the stalking post for any number of right-wing rhetorical arguments about COVID-19, leaving Floridians to fend for themselves and hope local governments can protect them.