This is so rare I feel compelled to call attention to it: a media figure, Joe Nocera, admitted he was wrong to heap praise on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for containing the coronavirus outbreak in Florida:
A little after 11 a.m. each weekday, I receive an email alert from the Miami Herald. It contains the latest Covid-19 numbers for Florida. And every day, I wince a little when I see them.
Florida is now the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. Since July 10, the number of new positive cases has averaged more than 10,000 a day. As of Wednesday, the total number of cases was nearly 380,000 according to the state’s health department. The positivity rate — the percentage of those tested who turn out to be infected — is well above 18%. Hospitals in Miami-Dade County are approaching capacity. “The residents here are terrified and I’m terrified,” Donna Shalala, Miami’s Democratic congresswoman, said over the weekend. She called for Governor Ron DeSantis to impose a lockdown.
And who claimed that Florida was doing a good job containing the pandemic? Oh, right. It was me.
It’s personal for Nocera now — he’s living in Boca Raton, having moved there from New York for his son’s sports camp, thinking that he and his family would escape the plague. Oops.
Nocera’s theory is that the governors who reopened too early made that decision in part by looking at death rates rather than the R-naught, a mistake Nocera owned up to as well. (R0 is currently 1.42 in FL, according to Nocera.) He says that despite the spread, death rates in the Sunbelt states are lower than they were in the Northeast for reasons we still don’t fully understand. I think that’s probably true; there’s a lot we don’t know about COVID-19.
But if commenters on an almost top-10K blog could access enough information from experts to figure out that the R0 was a key to containing the spread way back in March, there’s just no excuse for anyone in a decision-making role, including Trump and DeSantis, for not knowing that. The thing is, they did know it, but they decided to gamble with our lives anyway. Here’s hoping the virus kills both their political careers.