Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Today the Orlando Sentinel reprinted an article published by the Tampa Sun Sentinel, a Democratic rag out of South Florida. The clear intent was to attack Gov. DeSantis’ management of COVID-19, and the result looked more like a smear campaign than a recitation of data. In fact, even when they listed information, they frequently qualified their message. I’ve divided their article into three areas: (1) anger over excluding “the experts”; (2) rejection of the MSM “facts”; and (3) dissatisfaction that DeSantis is using data that conflicts with the MSM.
To begin this review, the representatives of the universities and institutes in Florida are accusing DeSantis of playing politics:
‘The governor is a smart, educated guy,’ said Thomas Unnasch, co-director of the Center for Global Health and Infectious Disease Research at the University of South Florida in Tampa. ‘But he is a politically savvy guy. He is encouraging people who are of the opinion that the virus is not as severe and profound as others say it is and putting politics before science.’
I suspect that Dr. Unnasch is disappointed that he is not the expert being consulted. The fact that COVID is highly contagious but many fewer are now dying from it seems irrelevant to him.
Then there is the dismay over DeSantis’ consulting Scott Atlas, the former consultant on COVID to President Trump:
At the end of August, DeSantis invited Atlas on a tour of Florida. The two appeared at a series of news conferences, where DeSantis rattled off favorable statistics on the fight against the disease and Atlas backed the governor’s less-restrictive approach.
But Atlas’ statements have been widely panned by other scientists and drew a rebuke last month from the Stanford Faculty Senate, which adopted a resolution to ‘strongly condemn’ him for promoting a view on COVID-19 that ‘contradicts medical science.’ Atlas responded that he was ‘disappointed’ in the faculty resolution, saying, ‘My views in favor of the careful protection of our nation’s most vulnerable while safely re-opening society are far from contrary to science.’
Of course, the mainstream was furious that Atlas was being consulted since his medical specialty didn’t involve infectious disease. I guess that made him incapable of reviewing and assessing the data available on COVID-19.
An associate dean confirmed that DeSantis consulting Atlas was a political move:
‘Calling people in from out of state to be experts who are of your same mindset, you are controlling the narrative, and it’s politics not science,’ said Dr. Jay Wolfson, senior associate dean of the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine. ‘Florida is one of the top states in the nation for expertise to draw on. Unfortunately, at the state level, I’m afraid we are not being heard, and evidence-based data is not being used as far as decisions being made.’
When egos are at stake, trampling others’ reputations is one option for action.
* * * * *
When all else fails, using information that can’t be validated helps your arguments:
Although researchers have yet to establish the exact COVID death rate, there’s broad agreement it’s at least several times more lethal than the common seasonal flu. On average, the flu has killed between 10,000 to 60,000 Americans every year since 2010. So far this year, COVID has killed more than 272,000, according to dashboard run by Johns Hopkins University.
The fact that the regular reporting of flu deaths is far from concise doesn’t seem relevant to these authors. And there is also “broad agreement” that deaths on the data from COVID are difficult to define, since people often have co-morbidities; as a result, it’s very hard to discern if people are dying from COVID or with COVID.
The media is also happy to distort tweets that conflict with their agenda:
Piccolo retweeted an observation by Dr. James Todaro, an ophthalmologist who gained attention for promoting Trump’s favored COVID-19 policies, that read, ‘Wearing a mask outdoors is more ludicrous than wearing a seat belt in a car showroom.’
Experts say masks should be worn outside if it’s not possible to maintain a safe distance from people you aren’t normally near. ‘I would say that tweet is dangerous,’ said Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard University’ T.H. Chan School of Public Health. ‘Masks cut risk. I would call that a false tweet.’
Assistant Professor Mina conveniently assumed that Dr. Todaro was talking about people outdoors who are crowded into mobs of protests, and that he must be saying it was okay to go mask-less in that environment. Somehow I don’t think that was Dr. Todaro’s intention.
Finally, Gov. DeSantis called out the local “authorities” at this Nov. 30 news conference:
‘At some point you have to look at the observed experience about what’s happening,’ he said. ‘And I think there’s narratives like ‘lockdowns work.’ ‘And they don’t, if you look at the evidence, business closures, all this stuff, look at what just happened in Europe. France locked down, Switzerland didn’t—same viral curve, literally, no difference. So you focus on protecting vulnerable people. You provide the resources to our medical and hospitals as they need it.’
Those listening must have been miffed at the DeSantis insistence on actual facts.
* * * * *
Several local Florida governments are calling for masks indoors, and even outdoors (if people are unable to “socially distance.” They will continue to apply pressure on Gov. DeSantis to give in to their demands to make a statewide mandate. I don’t think he will.
They’ll just mandate their own restrictions, crippling businesses and burdening citizens.
Watch for it.
In a more recent video, the governor confirms that nursing home residents will be vaccinated first. DeSantis puts priority distribution of the vaccines to nursing home residents first, and then health providers.