Perhaps foolishly, I’m still clinging to the hope that being loudly and consistently pro-virus and anti-protect-kids-from-the-virus will blow up in the faces of Trumpy Republicans like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. They’re determined to test my hypothesis.
On Friday, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran (an insufferable pricklouse* who is NOT the president of FSU) gave public school districts in Alachua and Broward Counties an ultimatum: reverse mask mandates, or the state will refuse to pay schoolboard members who voted to impose them. Those two districts were the first to defy Governor DeSantis’s anti-mask agenda.
They’ve since been joined by at least five other districts: Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Leon and Sarasota Counties. I’m not sure what percentage of Florida schoolchildren these counties represent, but it’s well north of a third since these are all population centers.
Florida’s pandemic is getting deadlier and infecting more children.
The state reported 1,486 deaths, a 141 percent increase from two weeks ago. And it’s the most deaths since Feb. 10, as federal data shows Florida approaching the weekly death toll last seen this past winter.
One out of every four COVID-19 infections recorded by the state in the most recent seven-day period were 19 or younger.
The COVID positivity rate for Florida teens is 25%. Let that sink in.
I’ve noted in this space before that DeSantis is gambling with our lives. That wasn’t hyperbole. He made the bet that since most of the state’s seniors are vaccinated, he could pretend the pandemic was over, reasoning that even if Florida became a COVID-19 hotspot (as it did), the death rate would remain well below pre-vaccine peaks. He was wrong about that. Hospitals are filling up, and kids are getting sick.
So, in terms of politics, will it matter? Not to the Trumpy base, which will croak out “MAGA” before the breathing tube stops their vocal chords. But I wonder if Sarasota County’s defection gives DeSantis and his all-sycophant staff pause. They keep doubling down because they think to do otherwise would look weak.
But as some of y’all have pointed out, it makes the governor look weak when schoolboards tell him and his threatening minions to go pound sand. Terrible political hack Richard Corcoran’s threats about withholding schoolboard salaries are empty anyway since the Biden admin has the schoolboard’s backs on the issue. It just makes DeSantis and his people look like impotent and vindictive cockwaffles.
And it’s interesting that Sarasota defected after Corcoran issued the ultimatum. Maybe there will be a reckoning. We’ll find out next year.
*Shamelessly stolen from valued commenter Miss Bianca.