A primer for Democrats on why Ron DeSantis isn’t following your advice on COVID-19

by | Jun 18, 2020


Florida’s most prominent elected Democrats have made it clear that if they were in charge of state government, Florida’s citizens would be in full-blown lockdown mode, based solely on the rising number of new COVID-19 infections in the state. Meanwhile, Governor Ron DeSantis has resisted repeated calls from Democrats and their allies to mandate new restrictions on Floridians. He has maintained this approach with a watchful eye on a handful of metrics that have guided his administration’s pandemic policy.

The most vocal Democrat leaders, which include Nikki FriedGwen Graham, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, have in the last 24 hours published statements on social media accusing DeSantis of bungling the coronavirus response and urging significant restrictions on the movement and freedoms of Florida residents. I won’t bother to link to them all. The examples of full-blown panic are too numerous to list. Here’s a classic example:

Democrat leaders have tunnel-vision.

They are laser-focused on the daily number of new cases of COVID-19, and refuse to consider other data. They use this metric to argue for renewed government-mandated restrictions, despite the fact that the initial rationale for shelter-in-place and business lockdowns were to “flatten the curve” so that hospitals would not be overwhelmed by coronavirus patients. When that didn’t happen, Democrat leaders were quick to credit the lockdown, while Republicans openly wondered if the lockdown did more harm than good.

With that in mind, let’s clear some things up for those Democrats who seem befuddled about why Florida isn’t in a rush to return to lockdown status:

The Lockdown Obviously Prevented the Spread of COVID-19, But…

Most Republicans with an ounce of sense will admit this. Some rightly point out that lockdowns in tight spaces like high-density apartment complexes or multi-generational housing probably experienced more harm than good, but on balance, the lockdown worked as advertised.

But that’s just it. The lockdown worked for those whose housing situations were ideal for the lockdown to work, and it didn’t work so well for others. This is a very strong argument against a one-size-fits-all statewide lockdown policy.

The lockdown also did enormous, nearly incalculable economic damage. I won’t belabor the point. It is known.

The lockdown also did far more harm than good to a small subset of the population who avoided the hospital or medical care when they should have sought it out. Suicides increased. Mental health declined. Statistics on this are out there, but it makes perfect logical sense and there is ample anecdotal evidence supporting it. Again, one-size-fits-all is not good policy overall.

In short, Republicans are well aware that the lockdown short-circuited the spread of COVID-19, but it also short-circuited far too many other things, too. And ultimately, Republicans have reached the logical conclusion that locking down indefinitely is simply too ruinous for our state, and there is a better approach using robust data that isn’t focused solely on ever-rising coronavirus case counts.

Regardless of Increased Testing, It is Obvious that COVID-19 is Spreading

Yes, Governor DeSantis likes to talk about the impact of increased testing on the surge in COVID-19 cases. Certainly, we are finding more cases than we would if we weren’t testing, so clearly the increased volume of tests accounts for some of the new cases we are seeing. But DeSantis is well aware of the increase in test positivity rate, which has been climbing since late May:

Note the dramatic spike on the light blue dashed line on the right of the chart. That line is the actual daily percentage, not averaged to smooth out spikes and valleys. Clearly, the virus is spreading.

This chart should not surprise anyone. That’s because DeSantis himself warned back in late April that when Florida reopened, there would be an increase in COVID-19 cases once the economy started to return to normal. He urged us all – particularly the media – not to panic over it. This was expected.

Another Lockdown isn’t Necessary – Unless Hospital Capacity is Threatened

DeSantis made it clear in late April that he believed the lockdown was no longer necessary and began lifting restrictions.

And so far, at least, the new surge in infections doesn’t appear to be the same threat it appeared to be back in early March. While the number of daily new cases has surged dramatically, there has been no corresponding surge in hospitalizations or deaths. In fact, hospitalizations are still below the level they were more than three weeks ago:

All that blue space on the right? Those are cases that, so far, haven’t resulted in hospitalizations. The reason? College-aged kids are the ones getting sick now, while older, more susceptible Floridians are taking precautions to avoid the illness. This is another argument against a government-mandated lockdown. People are smart enough to assess risks for themselves and take precautions.

We first covered this trend earlier this week. Since then, other states have reported similar trends.

Here’s an updated graph comparing the ages of all new cases since the so-called “second wave” started on June 1st (light blue bars), compared with the “first wave” between March 3rd and May 31st (dark blue line):

One more chart: these are cases from the last 36 hours:

This reinforces the point in stark terms: 20, 21, 22 and 23 year-old young adults are the unquestioned driving force behind the spike.

DeSantis has this same data. He’s seeing the same trend. He’s well aware that COVID-19 cases are spiking, he knows the virus is dangerous, but he can look at the chart and see that those who are more susceptible to illness and serious symptoms are taking precautions to protect themselves. He’s also well aware that hospitalizations and deaths are flat. He knows our hospital system can handle this current spike – at least for now. If the underlying data starts to change, most Floridians will protect themselves. There’s no need for DeSantis to intervene and impose arbitrary restrictions on Florida’s citizens.

On the other hand, if things shift and hospital capacity becomes threatened, DeSantis will almost certainly choose to shift strategies. Right now, that’s just not the case.

Cases are going to Keep Climbing for the Next Several Weeks

There is no doubt about it – no question whatsoever. All the new cases will, in turn, infect more people. It’s a highly contagious disease. DeSantis knows this. His choice, unfortunately, is between trusting people to see the data for themselves, and take appropriate precautions, or impose draconian restrictions on everyone.

Everyone needs to take precautions to protect themselves and others. DeSantis should be the biggest cheerleader for this. But he should NOT impose lockdowns unless hospital beds and medical care is threatened.

Given all the above, are you satisified with the way DeSantis has handled the situation?  If not, what measures would you like to see implemented – and how would you enforce those measures?  Drop us a comment below.

24 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    He is doing a great great job so happy he is in charge.please don’t fold and get up the great job keep Fl open and free God bless America

    Reply
    • GD

      What a bunch of losers as the polling shows otherwise and the death rate is a month behind they ignore.
      And not a chance of the tourist economy coming back because they don’t want to come and catch covid.
      In fact Disney, etc will have to stay closed because of DeSantis’, Trump’s policies and by November 300k dead is not a winning election platform either.
      As the polls show we old people are especially pissed.
      See you at election time..

      Reply
  2. James Belden

    Well reasoned government response to the facts of contagion.

    Reply
  3. Joe Wallace

    A very common sensed,well balanced decision in considering all the facts and aspects of this issue and not taking a tunnel vision approach that focusses only on new cases. Thank you Govern DeSantis. You are greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  4. Bill Hughes

    I trusts Governor DeSantis is aware of what is happening and he is doing what is best for everyone. The deaths in FL are still relatively low.

    Reply
  5. Ricardo Maxwell

    You ignore the elephant in the room. These Demokrats really could not care lees about the citizens of Florida. That want to damage the economy and knock Trump out. They want citizens to relinquish control of their lives and their freedom to big government. There is currently a worldwide push by Marxists ( or communists or socialists or progressives, whatever) to destroy capitalism and freedom. We cannot go back to a lockdown situation…ever.

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

    Doing a great job.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    I’m very happy with the way our Governor is handling everything.

    Reply
  8. Barney Bishop III

    Thanks, Brian for making all of these important and relevant data for us…but, it’s not just Republicans that see and agree on the re-opening of Florida, it’s moderate and conservative Democrats too who understand that COVID-19 is not to be feared as some Dem leaders want us to be, but that we need to be ever vigilant…

    Thousands and thousands of people marched across Florida and our country over the last few weeks and yet they didn’t practice social distancing and not all wore masks…they didn’t seem to care about potential spreading…in fact, many said the cause was more important to them than the pandemic…that’s their right…and we don’t need the Nanny State telling us what to do in every circumstance because most people won’t trust the government if it keeps telling them to shelter-in-place forever…

    All of us are entitled to make our own decisions…the truth is that for most Floridians and Americans, we are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms or none…for the unlucky ones they have more serious and life-threatening issues and we all respect that…but, you are right, and the Governor is right – and President Trump is right – we can’t sacrifice our economy for this…we need to take reasonable measures but life must go on…it certainly did for the protesters…

    And on weekends when young people party and have a good time, they’ve already made their decision as well…so if young people can accept their fate, the rest of us can certainly make up our own mind to accept our fate also…it’s called FREEDOM and that’s what you, the Governor and our President promotes…FREEDOM to think, to take action, and to decide our own fate in life

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    So glad we have Ron Desantis as our Governor.Thank God we dont have a democrat running thing. He’s doing a great job. We need to get our state 100% back open.

    Reply
  10. Christina R

    I fully support my Florida Governor! The way he’s handled this from the beginning has been great.

    The beautiful thing about America is we are FREE to make up our own minds. We know the risks. Let us decide what’s best for us. Which Ron has allowed.

    So grateful to live in Florida.

    Reply
  11. Designer

    Great job governor! Only wish you could educate the local Democrats and stop the hysteria! We are sadly aware of their motivation.

    Reply
  12. Pitt Warner

    I posted the chart of 7 day average of hospitalizations on a fb Orlando Sentinel article about mandatory (sort of) masks in Orange County starting tomorrow. A person asked where I got it, so I copied the URL for the article. I am waiting for responses. Thanks for the info and ability to give the facts.

    Reply
    • Pitt Warner

      Yup. Just as I thought. 1st reaction: “A far right wing political site so i wouldn’t get my Covid19 information from them.” I guess they think you’re cooking the stats.

      Reply
  13. Charlie Ochd

    DeSantis is doing a great job. Common sense in government…how unique and refreshing.

    Reply
  14. Keith Brink

    Could have been Gilliam … let that settle in🤓

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    Great job Mr. DeSantis! Keep doing what you are doing!

    Reply
  16. Anonymous

    I’m not a Republican but think de Santos has done a good job. Now he needs to imtervene in the Keys – masks or face a $500. fine through June 2021- ridiculous! Guess they don’t want tourists!!

    Reply
  17. s.

    People are not asking for a new lockdown. We are asking that people wear masks, and since so many will not, we are asking for it to be mandated. Clearly “personal responsiblity” has not been compelling an enough argument to get people to use this second-best tool that have (after distancing) to mitigate the spread. Five young girls surrounded me in a store vestibule a couple of days ago and coughed on me because I was in a mask.

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    I am happy with the way Rom Desantis has handled things. I would like to see masks mandatory in Palm Beach County

    Reply
  19. Cindi Reinhardt

    I think DeSantis is doing an outstanding job. Consider myself so fortunate to live in Florida with such a great governor. Currently visiting PA where some of the restrictions are beyond ridiculous

    Reply
  20. Andrew Rikley

    Yes, they are young people catching it now and most of them are not getting sick or even showing symptoms and they are going home to their parents and grandparents and 2, 3 weeks from now its going to be a shitshow. This is not hard to figure out.

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    He is honest to a fault. He rambles in his responses, unloading every piece of information he is privy to. He is a true statesman; he doesn’t realize (or doesn’t care?) that the media are just there to wait for him to say something they can twist and use against him and/or for their own agenda, that he is personally better off saying as little as possible to their questions.

    Reply
  22. carolyn

    I am happy with the Governor’s response to CV19, especially when you contrast his actions for nursing homes comared to those of NY, PA & other governors in the Northeast USA. From FL’s declining figures starting when he lifted the lockdown until the ‘protests’ started, we can see that the lifting was a success and not a cause for growing numbers of positive cases. However, the number of young people who have now tested positive, since the protests, could be a coincidence, but it might be interesting to know how many of them attended without proper social distancing or masks. However, this is the elephant in the room due to First Amendment rights of ‘peaceful’ protest, which in some areas did not carry as much weight as religious First Amendment rights, nor did they remain peaceful, but that is a topic for another issue.. THX again Governor DeSantis (from a Democratic registered voter, who supported you, the best candidate!)

    Reply

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