Miscellaneous

Brutal FL Headline: “When talking about COVID-19, DeSantis leaves out key facts”

Today, the Orlando Sentinel published a comprehensive breakdown of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ COVID-19 public response — and public health experts had a lot to criticize about his failure to keep Floridians safe.

In every category — which included DeSantis’ public statements on vaccine effectiveness, natural immunity, and monoclonal antibodies — the epidemiologists, public health officials and other experts interviewed by the Sentinel condemned DeSantis’ conspiratorial rhetoric, false statements, and all-out lies. 

Orlando Sentinel: When talking about COVID-19, DeSantis leaves out key facts, experts say

By: Steven Lemongello and Catherine Catherman | February 10, 2022

Key Facts:

  • “Speaking in Panama City on Jan. 13, Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters, “clearly the vax has not stopped people from being infected with omicron. That is just clear as day.”
  • “They had said it would end COVID,” DeSantis declared.”
  • “Like many of DeSantis’ comments about the coronavirus, it did not tell the whole story.”
  • “DeSantis’ statements about vaccine effectiveness and safety, antibody treatments and the power of natural immunity are cloudy in some cases and absolutely wrong in others, say epidemiologists and other experts interviewed by the Orlando Sentinel.”
  • “‘Given that the state is having a problem with staff shortages, students out of school and other … problems … related to COVID-19 health outcomes, a prudent focus might be to focus on maintaining a healthier population that is less sick overall,’ wrote [infectious disease epidemiologist Elena] Cyrus in an email. ‘And the most efficient and cost-effective way to do that continues to be through vaccination and other public health measures aimed at prevention of illness to begin with,’ she said.”
  • “Kenneth Goodman, a bioethicist and director of the Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy at the University of Miami, criticized the ‘kooky views acquiring broad currency’ among state leadership. But he agreed with Stipanovich that the ultimate motive is political.”
  • “‘There are times when it serves a political interest to engender doubt,’ he said. ‘And there’s a subset of politicians who have tried really hard to spread doubt about scientific knowledge in the context of COVID.'”
  • “Goodman said the changing circumstances of the virus and its mutations, and the continuing search for information about the virus and its mitigation, have been ‘weaponized in the interests of undermining.'”
  • “‘When the experts have been mistaken, they’re criticized for not having been infallible, even though it’s a probabilistic science with a brand new virus and there’s really exciting, important science moving forward quickly,’ he said. ‘… It’s been weaponized in the interest of advancing what I think most ordinary Americans regard as a sad and silly political agenda.'”
  • “‘We used to call it a credibility gap,’ Goodman said of politicians’ untrustworthiness. ‘Now, the problem is there are actually dead people as a result of it.'”

Read the full report here.

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