While Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis was expressing his desire to re-open schools in May despite the coronavirus pandemic, he falsely claimed the virus hasn’t killed anyone under age 25 nationwide.
Speaking on Thursday, DeSantis showed an astounding amount of ignorance on a topic he was championing when he told a gathering of teachers, parents and government officials, “This particular pandemic is one where I don’t think nationwide there’s been a single fatality under 25. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t seem to threaten, you know, kids.”
That is not true. At all. According to CNN’s reporting and the CDC, four people between the ages of 15 and 24 and one person between the ages of one and four have died from the coronavirus. And, an AP report said on Wednesday that a 7-week-old Connecticut infant who died tested positive for COVID-19.
Obviously, these are facts all governors should be aware of, but especially those that are looking to re-open schools while going against the CDC social distancing guidelines.
But DeSantis continued to try to bolster his argument by comparing the coronavirus pandemic to the flu, saying, “We lose in Florida between five and 10 kids a year for the flu. This one, for whatever reason, much more dangerous if you’re 65 and plus than the flu, no doubt about that. If you’re younger, it just hasn’t had an impact. So that should factor into how we’re viewing this.”
Also, DeSantis inexplicably ignores — or is too stupid to realize — that all people, no matter their age, can carry the coronavirus. So, even while the governor says he recognizes and acknowledges that parents or elderly relatives are at risk, by letting children go back to school, he fails to understand the concept of public distancing to prevent transmissions to vulnerable populations.
According to a New Republic piece on the governor published on Friday, DeSantis’ overall response to the crisis has been questionable at best. He ignored early stay-at-home recommendations from the CDC. He paid more attention to Trump’s wants than the health needs of Florida residents. Using an approach that followed the mantra that “saving the economy” would save more lives, Florida finally had to bend to the will of the crisis on April 1 when the state passed 7,000 cases of COVID-19 and 100 coronavirus-related deaths.
DeSantis is not the only state politician to spread misinformation about COVID-19, whether it’s due to incompetence or agenda-driven, it is undoubtedly dangerous. In a time of rampant misinformation, it’s critically important that voters listen to public health officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx and ignore self-serving politicians who may not be acting with their best interests at heart.
Hopefully, voters are paying attention to how local politicians are handling the crisis in their area. With President Trump sucking up most of the national coronavirus political coverage, it’s important to pay attention to how some state and local officials have put their constituents in danger and vote them out in November.