Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis has long held the spotlight in press coverage when it comes to his hands-off approach to the pandemic. DeSantis drew sharp criticism last year when he announced relaxed measures in controlling the spread of the virus, to include outlawing unscientific mask mandates in schools, allowing instead for parents to decide whether or not to mask their children. Just last month, Vanity Fair published a scathing review of DeSantis’s handling of the pandemic of late. The author referred to DeSantis as an “angel of death” and described him as either ignorant or careless in regards to how the coronavirus spreads. Other outlets likewise hailed DeSantis as “COVID reckless.”
One month later, however, and the media remains suddenly silent on the recent drop in Florida case counts. According to the New York Times’ COVID tracker, Florida has seen a whopping 41% plunge in daily cases over the last 14 days. This compares to just a 7% drop in cases over the same time period in New York, a state known for some of the most restrictive COVID policies in the nation and one that boasts a higher vaccination rate than that of Florida. In fact, as of Thursday, Florida ranks among the top four in lowest cases with 11 in 100,000, handily beating New York’s 23.
Yet same columnists who so vehemently railed against the “Republican death cult” have nothing to say about Florida’s sudden drop in cases. To be sure, a comprehensive look at the data reveals that Florida ranks among the highest in the country for average number of daily deaths per 100,000. The state’s downward trend in cases cannot necessarily be attributed to DeSantis’s widely criticized stand against vaccine mandates. Yet, what exactly accounts for Florida’s distinct dip in case counts over the last two weeks? If a state’s COVID numbers are directly related to policies and politics, then the media would be right to extend its censure of the governors of states seeing a far less significant decline in cases. Whether bad policies are to blame or not, the media remains interested only in assigning blame when it aligns with their narrative.