DeSantis Comes Under Fire for COVID Policies and Vaccine Endorsement

Joe Duncan

DeSantis is coming under fire from both sides of the political spectrum for his middle-of-the-road response to the COVID-19 pandemic

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Gage Skidmore

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appears to be getting mud slung at him from both ends, these days. It was just earlier this year, back in February and after the January 6th insurrection that rocked our U.S. Capitol and nation, when Ron DeSantis was a top-tier candidate of the Republican Party. His approval and poll ratings both skyrocketed.

Politico described DeSantis as having launched into the "top-tier" over his "Covid Wars," a series of policies he implemented in order to try to maximize freedom, even if that came at the expense of precautionary measures.

He's raised dozens of millions of dollars since January of this year and for a brief moment, it appeared as if the Florida Governor might unseat former President Donald Trump as the preferred candidate of the Republican Party. He even overtook Trump in a surprise poll conducted among Republican voters in Colorado.

But since the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has arrived at our shores, fortunes have begun to change for the Governor. His tides are beginning to turn. Since mid-June, we've had a surge in cases in Florida and the Governor has been criticized for his ultra-libertarian stance. And it's more than just cases.

Just today, Florida broke hospitalization records for COVID-19 patients, as sick Floridians are being rushed to hospitals around the state after contracting the virus. As the Associated Press reports:

The Sunshine State had 10,207 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to data reported to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The previous record was from more than a year ago, July 23, 2020, more than a half-year before vaccinations started becoming widespread, when Florida had 10,170 hospitalizations, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

They go on to explain that over the past week, Florida has averaged 1,525 hospitalizations per day from the virus, along with 35 pediatric hospitalizations per day. Yes, you read that right. 35 children have been admitted to Florida hospitals on average every single day this week with COVID-19.

Have we reached the point where DeSantis' ultra-liberatrian stance against the virus is starting to finally catch up with him?

On the other side of the aisle, Governor DeSantis is getting a hot lof heat from the far-right and anti-vaccine movements in Florida who've been calling him a "sellout" for urging Floridians to go and get vaccinated. Former National Security Advisor and outspoken Q-Anon enthusiast Mike Flynn criticized the Florida Governor, saying, "Don't let political correctness get in the way of health choices."

A conservative talk radio host named Stew Peters, based out of Minneapolis Minnesota, also criticized the Governor on his radio show and podcast, saying he's a "sellout" while implying that the governor must've been taking bribes, presumably from pharmaceutical companies, though that wasn't ever made explicit.

Newsweek reported on these criticisms of DeSantis from the far right and DeSantis responded by calling them "clickbait" designed to smear his name and hard work.

It seems that Governor DeSantis can't win on the extremes. And it seems that his idea to appease both sides and find common ground has now come back to bite him in the hindside. What seemed like a sensible approach to dealing with the virus, one that CNN even applauded after a long time of watching Florida's COVID-19 deaths stay low and cases not spread, has now all been derailed with the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 arriving in Florida.

Some of us were criticizing both DeSantis' strategies as well as the alarmist messaging that took place all year last year, only to find out that delta was the tipping point that would change the game of the COVID-19 outbreak here in Florida.

There's no doubt in my mind that DeSantis has been planning a Presidential Run, if possible, come 2024. Now the real question will become how much this blunder derails the Florida Governor's political ambitions, whatever they may be.

And now for a few things about COVID-19 and the delta variant that Floridians may want to know about:

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