Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(8,361 posts)
Sat Jul 22, 2023, 12:16 PM Jul 2023

The Steep Cost of Ron DeSantis's Vaccine Turnabout

Once a vaccine advocate, the Florida governor lost his enthusiasm for the shot before the Delta wave sent Covid hospitalizations and deaths soaring. It’s a grim chapter he now leaves out of his rosy retelling of his pandemic response.

By Sharon LaFraniere, Patricia Mazzei and Albert Sun
Sharon LaFraniere and Albert Sun, who spent weeks analyzing Covid data for this article, have reported on the pandemic for three years. Patricia Mazzei reported from Miami, where she has covered Florida politics for more than eight years.

July 22, 2023

On a Saturday in September 2020, with Covid-19 killing more than 600 Americans daily and hundreds of thousands of deaths still to come, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, heard her cellphone ring. It was Dr. Scott Rivkees, the Florida surgeon general. He was distraught.

“‘You won’t believe what happened,’” she said he told her. Months before Covid vaccines would become available, Gov. Ron DeSantis had decided that the worst was over for Florida, he said. Mr. DeSantis had begun listening to doctors who believed the virus’s threat was overstated, and he no longer supported preventive measures like limiting indoor dining.

Excerpt: Instead, he emphasized his opposition to requiring anyone to get shots, from hospital workers to cruise ship guests.


( Florida is a failed state in my view. The intensity of the failures fall at the feet of a man racing to become top demagogue. )

4 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
The Steep Cost of Ron DeSantis's Vaccine Turnabout (Original Post) BeckyDem Jul 2023 OP
more ... DBoon Jul 2023 #1
Call him Doctor Death LiberalFighter Jul 2023 #2
Deathsantis' policies killed people LetMyPeopleVote Jul 2023 #3
Mr. PRO-LIFE Skittles Jul 2023 #4


(22,583 posts)
1. more ...
Sat Jul 22, 2023, 12:31 PM
Jul 2023
While Florida was an early leader in the share of over-65 residents who were vaccinated, it had fallen to the middle of the pack by the end of July 2021. When it came to younger residents, Florida lagged behind the national average in every age group.

That left the state particularly vulnerable when the Delta variant hit that month. Floridians died at a higher rate, adjusted for age, than residents of almost any other state during the Delta wave, according to the Times analysis. With less than 7 percent of the nation’s population, Florida accounted for 14 percent of deaths between the start of July and the end of October.

Of the 23,000 Floridians who died, 9,000 were younger than 65. Despite the governor’s insistence at the time that “our entire vulnerable population has basically been vaccinated,” a vast majority of the 23,000 were either unvaccinated or had not yet completed the two-dose regimen.

A high vaccination rate was especially important in Florida, which trails only Maine in the share of residents 65 and older. By the end of July, Florida had vaccinated about 60 percent of adults, just shy of the national average. Had it reached a vaccination rate of 74 percent — the average for five New England states at the time — it could have prevented more than 16,000 deaths and more than 61,000 hospitalizations that summer, according to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet.
Latest Discussions»Editorials & Other Articles»The Steep Cost of Ron DeS...