Monday was horrendous. Yesterday was more horrendous. Today will be worse. COVID-19 cases aren’t just shooting up in dozens of states, they’re particularly soaring in states where there is absolutely no plan to halt, or even slow, the outbreaks. The poster child for awful is, of course, the state that Donald Trump has spent the most time slathering in praise. “Look at what’s going on in Florida,” said Trump. “It’s incredible. If you look at so many different places that have opened up … the ones that are most energetic about opening they are doing tremendous business.” To be fair, that was last month. To be more fair, on the day Trump made that claim, Florida had just set a record for its highest day ever—but that record was barely a tenth of what it ran up yesterday.

Trump’s partner in destroying the Sunshine State, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, was still out there bragging about the state’s “low death rate” just two days ago. That was also when DeSantis said that COVID-19 had “stabilized” in Florida. Right before reporting a new record. Then breaking that record. Then on Thursday, Florida smashed its previous record by recording 120 deaths in a single day even though the state’s average age of new COVID-19 patients is only 21. Which makes Florida a prime candidate for Dr. Anthony Fauci’s latest recommendation: States like Florida should shut down.

It’s been just one month since DeSantis “proudly welcomed” Trump’s move of the Republican National Convention to Jacksonville, Florida. At that announcement, DeSantis didn’t wear a mask, didn’t practice social distancing, and made it clear he expected Jacksonville to be a full stadium, no distancing enforced event. But after pulling the convention from Charlotte, North Carolina because officials there would not allow Trump to violate local health ordinances, Wednesday brought some backtracking as Trump declared he was flexible on the size and structure of the convention. Meanwhile, a coalition of downtown Jacksonville businesses are actually suing to keep the convention away as their city is in the center of a COVID-19 hot spot. So … it’s all good.

Also, by an astounding coincidence, the White House has announced that Jacksonville will be just one of three cities in the nation that will be getting free surge testing locations. I mean … what are the odds?

Trump pointedly moved his (vote-by-mail) residency to Mar-a-Lago after the state attorney general in New York kept holding him accountable to the law. His partnership with DeSantis has been linked to a mutual love of deregulation, deep-pocket PACs, and lying. Full-time lying.

But if Trump bet on the novel coronavirus magically going for a vacation in the summer, DeSantis doubled down on that bet. Even as other governors were enacting standards designed to protect their citizens from harm and reduce the rate of transmission, DeSantis was opening bars and gyms and giving Trump everything he wanted in putting the economy ahead of people.

Even as cases first crept, then raced, then exploded upwards. DeSantis has had an excuse—look at our death rates. While the case fatality rate in Florida, at just under 2%, is good compared to states that suffered through the largest blow in the first weeks of the pandemic, it’s certainly nothing to brag about, dropping Florida in the middle of the pack both on case fatalities and in deaths versus population. But then DeSantis started bragging on that one statistic at about the same time as he forced the state’s medical examiners to stop reporting COVID-19 deaths. As the data scientist behind Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard has pointed out repeatedly, Florida is hiding important information on both deaths and hospitalizations. This makes having attractive numbers considerably easier … and makes the numbers now being published seem considerably worse.

The cover-up of information in Florida has gotten so bad that the sheriff of the county that includes Daytona beach was forced to sue DeSantis just to get information for his own area. DeSantis has issued a “statewide directive” against sharing data with the city and county officials who have to deal directly with deaths, illness, and a lack of support from the state. What they don’t know will definitely hurt them.

Florida is in exactly the position that Dr. Anthony Fauci discussed on Wednesday when he said: “I think any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down.” Except DeSantis has made it clear that he only has one forward gear and no brakes at all. The time to lock down Florida was over a month ago, at the time cases were starting to rise and DeSantis was busy spiking the ball on the 40-yard-line. The 65,000 new cases that have been confirmed in just the last week are the result of DeSantis’ unwillingness to shut down in June. So are the record number of deaths. So are hospitals that are filling up across the state.

Donald Trump is not smarter than medical professionals. Ron DeSantis is not smarter than medical professionals. And the idea that either of them deserves praise for ignoring the advice of medical professionals isn’t just ludicrous—it’s deadly.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

4 COMMENTS

  1. What’s the plan: to turn it into a winter resort exclusively for Vlad and his boys?
    Please! Don’t anyone tell them about sinkholes swallowing whole houses, huh?

  2. Where the hell is tRUMP going to go when we KICK DeSantis out on his ass in 2022, and get a REAL leader in Florida. You best believe the Next Democrat governor will be looking just as hard at tRUMP as New York is now! SCREW tRUMP just an AS$HOLE!!!…LOCK HIM UP…LOCK HIM UP…LOCK HIM UP!!!

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