Florida is the only state where more people are dying of COVID now than ever before. What went wrong?
A few months ago, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Republican of Florida, declared his hands-off approach to COVID-19 “a tremendous success.” Politico announced that he had “won the pandemic.”
But then came the hypercontagious Delta variant, which continues to hit Florida harder than anywhere else in the country.
The result? DeSantis just added another, less flattering distinction to his résumé. When COVID first surged across the Sun Belt last summer, the average number of Floridians dying of the disease every 24 hours peaked at 185, according to the New York Times’s state-by-state COVID database. The same was true over the winter.
A few days ago, however, Florida’s daily death rate cleared 200 for the first time, and today it stands at 228 — an all-time high.
This makes DeSantis the first (and so far only) governor in the U.S. whose state is now recording more COVID-19 deaths each day — long after free, safe and effective vaccines became widely available to all Americans age 12 or older — than during any previous wave of the virus.
That surprised me. Florida is having a rough time, but I didn't think the current surge / wave was any worse than the earlier waves.
So, let's check.