Florida Orders That Daily Mortality Numbers Not Be Published

What Governor Ron DeSantis seeks to prove continues to baffle. [Doctor] “…tells the Tampa Bay Times that state officials have told him they’re planning to remove probable causes of death from the examiners’ report…”

Florida Governor on the Suncoast talking about COVID-19. (Source: WWSB)

It is no secret that Florida has huge elderly communities living in all manner of homes and assisted living facilities. It is no secret that these folks are the most vulnerable and among the most likely to die from this lethal virus, owing to their weakened immune systems and all the other age related illness that come with advancing age.

And most of those living in these tight knit communities are white. Many of them were — or still are — Trump voters. A bizarre strategy for re-election to simply kill off your base through sheer negligence and disinterest in that “disposable” demographic: sort of supports his argument that he “could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue” and would not lose voters. Well this appears to be that on steroids.

It is no secret that Florida has significant black and hispanic communities more prone to a deadly outcome from this virus, owing to underlying pre-existing conditions and generally poorer healthcare.

Still, knowing what he did, Governor Ron DeSantis — a Trump loyalist of the first magnitude — did not shut down Florida beaches over Spring break. Now — as with Louisiana’s failure to call off Mardi Gras earlier this year — the state is experiencing a massive spike in Covid-19 cases. Who knew?

Well, Ron DeSantis did. It can’t be argued that officials in Florida were not warned: they simply chose to ignore the obvious in service to the tourist economy and to Trump’s insistence that, “like a miracle,” the virus would “poof,” just disappear.

Because — to be clear — Donald Trump was planning to run on the solid economy that Barack Obama left him, without ever addressing the plethora of ways in which his own criminality and incompetence has undermined the fundamentals of said thriving economy. This was in the hope that nothing as egregious — as let’s say a global pandemic — would come along and strip away the camouflage of some wacky Trumpian rhetorical flourish to reveal the rot of complicity at the soul of the GOP. Just sayin’, let’s get real.

Well, one really stiff wind of actual national crisis — of real need for strategical leadership — and Donald Trump’s house of cards — his network of epic lies — has come crashing down. And it could all have been dramatically mitigated if Trump were not such a narcissistic loser.

So now, as the infection and death rates are — predictably — spiking in Florida, DeSantis is desperately trying to curry favor with his perceived benefactor. Though, this is a mystery in itself because virtually no one that Trump has gone to the mat to support in the past few election cycles has won. His presence is now the kiss of death to local and statewide candidates where ever he shows up to give his big wet Trumpian kiss of supplication.

DeSantis is celebrating the “re-opening” of an economy that he never really closed. If Floridians stayed away from mass gatherings it is only because they were following the example of New Yorkers under the leadership of an actual human being, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has effectively managed a dire situation in New York State. Especially impressive given that he was given no advance warning — or substantial material help — from the Trump administration. In fact, after telling governors they were on their own, Trump’s soldiers have been dispatched to intercept supplies ordered by the states on their own behalf, their medical supplies swept off to the mysterious “national stockpile” which appears to be vacant as Trump shipped it overseas some time ago.

Ron DeSantis has had some advance warning about the magnitude of the impending catastrophe because New York State provided the example. Still, Florida had no more leadership from their governor than the country has had from the poser in the Oval Office. Ironically, Florida has historically been the retreat for aging white, well funded New Yorkers: it now appears those “snowbirds” may have simply jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the very real fire.

The strange thing about DeSantis shutting down the publication of mortality numbers as Covid-19 deaths continue a dramatic spike — as a direct result of his failure of leadership — is that he thinks that will work. That by merely not printing the numbers, that Floridians [or Texans, or Georgians, or Nebraskans, fill in the blank] will not notice the body bags piling up in the corner.

If you live in an elderly community where six or ten or a dozen of your friends get sick and simply vanish — no one ever hears from them again — you will tell people. These affluent white folks have families who will tell people.

If you have a relative or a lover or a friend in a prison facility who simply vanishes, you will tell people. And there’s nothing local reporters live for like the stories they can get to first, like the one about the prison guard who goes rogue and rats out the conditions in the local penitentiary where inmates — some who were being held on minor violations awaiting release — are dying horrible deaths by the dozens.

So what is it that Ron DeSantis and the GOP think is being achieved by refusing to publish the mortality numbers, other than looking like idiots trying to put out a catastrophic dumpster fire with a bucket and a spoon? In plain sight. To what end?

Then trying to hide it. Does Ron DeSantis or Donald Trump — or the GOP — think no one will notice? Do they think that, by not publishing the mortality numbers or by not stating “cause of death,” they are pulling something over on absolutely anybody?

These guys are so brazenly rich, white, entitled and profoundly stupid, that they are incapable of grasping that the rest of us are not that stupid — or that blind — at all.

So, again, I ask: What does Ron DeSantis think he is proving?

About the Author:

Gayle Leslie is a writer, political consultant, published author, actor, and policy wonk publishing extensively on Medium and other platforms. She is a native Texan, graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and Circle in the Square Theatre School in NYC. She wrote her serialized memoir, Dwelling in the Vast Divine Vol. 1 & Vol 2. You can follow on Twitter at @gayleleslie7

Author of “Dwelling in the Vast Divine.1 & .2" Political consultant, policy wonk. https://www.amazon.com/Dwelling-Vast-Divine-1-Serialized-Memoir/dp/1495477746

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