I Wish I Loved Anything as Much as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Loves COVID-19
As COVID-19 continues to sweep through the United States in whatever number wave we’re currently experiencing, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has planted himself firmly on the side of the virus.
DeSantis is doing everything he can to help the virus spread. He issued a ban on mask mandates in schools, threatening to cut funding to any school that required students to wear masks. He also recently signed an order banning government entities from issuing proof of vaccination (aka “vaccine passports”) and forbidding private businesses from requiring them.
A press release celebrating that executive order quoted one Florida State Senator as saying, “If there is one thing that this pandemic has taught us, it is that Florida continues to be the example of how to govern during these unprecedented times.”
It’s true, Florida is setting an example for how to govern—if your end goal is to give the virus a comfy, supportive place to thrive. Nearly one-fifth of all current COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are located in Florida and hospitals are filled to the brim.
COVID-19 patients currently occupy 19% of ICU beds in the United States; in Florida, it’s almost 44%. And only about 11% of the state’s ICU beds are available, for the time being, compared with 26% nationwide.
That’s the example DeSantis is setting.
Unfortunately for the governor and his beloved virus, DeSantis is facing mountains of opposition in his quest to make Florida COVID-19’s most hospitable vacation spot. A group of parents of disabled and immunocompromised students has filed a lawsuit against him and the state’s Department of Education, along with various school boards, claiming the ban on mask mandates in schools is a violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act.
Another parent has filed a lawsuit on behalf of himself and his three children, two of whom are too young to receive the vaccine, one of whom has asthma, and another who “has been vaccinated but is still at risk due to the Defendants’ [DeSantis] actions.”
DeSantis also faced a legal challenge from Norwegian Cruise Line, which objected to the governor’s vaccine passport ban. The ban would impose a $5,000 fine per violation for businesses that ask customers to provide proof of vaccination. The cruise line implements a 100% vaccination policy for all crew and guests, calling it “the safest and most prudent way to resume cruise operations amid this global pandemic.”
If you remember, cruise ships were some of the earliest and most terrifying coronavirus hotbeds, a heyday to which DeSantis is apparently determined to return.
A federal judge ruled in favor of the cruise line, granting it a preliminary injunction, blocking the ban and allowing the company to require proof of vaccination.
This has to be a blow to DeSantis, who appears to be in some sort of Bachelor–type competition with Texas Governor Greg Abbott to win the virus’ affections.
In Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick’s Texas:
– schools will lose funding if they offer online schooling
– schools cannot require masks
– schools do not need to contact trace nor inform parents of a positive case in the classroom
The contempt for public education is unconscionable.
— Mike Collier (@CollierForTexas) August 9, 2021
(image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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