In case you missed it, a pair of Florida’s largest newspapers went into overdrive last week to debunk a trending internet meme that painted Florida in such a good light (well, except for the hand-drawn “Florida Man”) that the newspapers just couldn’t let it stand.
The meme centered around official data by the Centers for Disease Control that showed COVID-19 transmission rates on a color-coded map of the United States. It’s easy to see at a glance just why the image went viral: Florida stood out like a sore thumb (main image, above). While most of the rest of the nation was slathered in deep red or orange, indicating high transmission rates of COVID-19, Florida was bathed almost entirely in soothing light blue tones, indicating low transmission rates. And the blue extended all the way to the Georgia border, where it abruptly stopped for no logical reason.
If true, the image spoke volumes, its political value immediately obvious: Florida must be doing something right to combat COVID-19, in spite of Democrats and the media constantly claiming otherwise.
But of course, COVID-19 doesn’t know where Florida’s state line is, and therefore the map couldn’t have been an accurate representation of the situation, as the Sun-Sentinel and its sister paper, the Orlando Sentinel, went out of their way to make clear to anyone who might be inclined to believe otherwise.
It turns out, Florida’s data simply didn’t get plugged into the CDC database over Thanksgiving break, while every other state apparently did, resulting in a skewed map that made Florida look amazing compared to literally everywhere else.
Here’s what the map should have looked like (and still does, according to Saturday’s CDC data):
If you still think Florida looks pretty good compared to the rest of the nation, you’d be right.
But the Orlando Sentinel and Sun Sentinel simply cannot abide Florida looking too much better than every other state in the nation, because that goes against the narrative woven by Democrats and their media allies who want Floridians to remain terrified of COVID-19 and, more importantly, to blame Governor Ron DeSantis for not doing enough about it.
The Sun Sentinel wasn’t content to simply debunk the CDC’s map in order to discredit Florida. The paper’s editorial board also published a lengthy attack on Desantis, just in case any of its readers might be inclined to give the governor too much credit for Florida’s current status as the most COVID-free state in the nation. Here’s a few choice lines from the piece, to give you a sense of the contempt the paper’s top leadership has for their governor :
From a public health perspective, Gov. DeSantis and Republicans in the Legislature have disarmed the state…
DeSantis’ inaction helps to explain why Florida ranks just 20th in terms of fully vaccinated population. Granted, that ranks Florida highest among states led by Trump-aligned governors, but that’s damning with faint praise….
Reading through the column, it doesn’t take long for the Sun-Sentinel to get to the real reason they hate him so much: in their view, he’s got a serious shot at becoming the next President of the United States, and for them, that just won’t do. They’d prefer an ineffective Joe Biden or perhaps even Kamala Harris over any Republican, especially DeSantis.
The thing is, DeSantis himself isn’t running around claiming credit for having the lowest infection rates in the nation. He’s is rightly pointing out that fact, though, because it’s an important part of the truth of COVID-19: Florida currently has fewer COVID cases not because DeSantis is actively taking measures to combat the disease, but rather because COVID-19 appears to come and go in waves, and Florida peaked during the summer.
DeSantis has made it clear that the disease is going to spread, but at the same time, Florida is also going to remain open because he believes his fellow Floridians are smart enough to decide for themselves which precautions are most appropriate for their individual circumstances.
But the governor also certainly knows that, just like other states, Florida will likely see a resurgence in cases in the coming months, while other states start to improve.
And he’ll be right to stay the course, guiding the Sunshine State with a steady hand, because unlike his Democratic opponents and their media allies, he doesn’t panic just because the colors changed on the latest CDC map.