Every day DeSantis issues a new dose of chaos by defying experts and digging in.
BY DELIA GOMES, Contributor
TALLAHASSEE — Governor Ron DeSantis has become a national news sensation but not for good reason. His contradicting positions on COVID-19 have made him the lead story on cable news shows where he’s mocked for his outrageous behavior and irresponsible COVID mandates. DeSantis perceived invincibility disappeared as his poll numbers plummeted and his opponent Democrat US Rep. Charlie Crist pulled ahead. Crist jumped over 10 points to lead DeSantis by nearly two points.
Florida leads the nation with the highest number of children afflicted among tens of thousands of new COVID victims. Ninety percent are unvaccinated. DeSantis attributes the surge to media hysteria, saying, “It has leveled off since last week,” which is not true. Now fear grows over the increase in children under 12 filling pediatric hospital beds compounded by DeSantis defying science making mask-wearing optional in public schools.
Most county school boards want children to wear masks to protect against further spread and death. Several counties are defying DeSantis despite his threat to withhold school funding and teacher salaries. Those threats triggered another round of legal challenges that follow most of the laws and executive orders filed by the governor.
As DeSantis dismisses the virus’s resurgence, the anger grows among Black leaders who have been battling vaccine hesitancy in a community that has the highest vulnerability of any race. The perceived failure to protect children returning to school though is too much. The Rev. RB Holmes, pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Tallahassee said,” I never witnessed so much pain, agony, sickness, and misery,” regarding the pandemic.
Holmes leads a statewide task force that encourages minorities to get vaccinated. He also asked the governor to reconsider his mandate to make mask-wearing optional in public schools. “I hope that you would strongly reconsider your decision around wearing face coverings,” Holmes added. “Children who aren’t vaccinated and those who are too young to be vaccinated can become very vulnerable to this virus without wearing a mask.”
Despite the dire consequences, DeSantis has doubled down. Meanwhile, Rep. Charlie Crist has a different perspective. “Gov. DeSantis continues to play Russian Roulette with the pandemic, risking the publics’ health, our economy, and our jobs,” Crist said. “He should be laser-focused on stamping out the virus, not auditioning for the Republican presidential nomination.”
Following in the footsteps of Donald Trump, the governor sows confusion. He holds daily press conferences that range from sending sheriff deputies to the border to chastising President Joe Biden for fighting COVID.
The poll giving Crist the nod comes on the heels of President Joe Biden’s advice to Governors like DeSantis to “get out of the way,” in the fight against COVID.