According to experts, Florida's Ron DeSantis is the most popular governor to have downplayed the highly contagious Delta variant. To understand why a majority share the same sentiment, you need to look at the following five major points:
1. The Feud between Biden and DeSantis
On Thursday, Gov. DeSantis ripped into President Joe Biden's plan to distribute doses of monoclonal antibody treatments to states across the nation.
Florida and other six states have relied on the therapies to treat patients that have been infected with the novel coronavirus, but they also have been taking at least 70% of the orders since the beginning of September.
DeSantis loudly spoke about how Florida is being punished for peddling the Covid-19 antibody treatment before the White House while the deadly Delta variant continues to spread around Florida.
President Biden told business owners to weekly test their workers who refuse to get the vaccine, and maybe more than that, they will fold and decide to get the Covid-shot.
This obviously did not sit well with DeSantis, who went on a rant following this comment that was coupled with the White House looking at vaccine mandates for government employees.
On Monday, the governor had a press conference in Gainesville, where he "addressed" vaccine mandate choices from the federal government - choices that were still being tabled.
Even ironic is how the DeSantis and few republican cabinet members got their Covid-jabs but stayed opposing vaccine mandate.
DeSantis's response to the Delta variant is evidently aimed at fighting school boards that have mandated that students wear masks.
It does not end there, and the governor is also serious about fighting local elected officials who want their employees vaccinated and fight the president of the United States.
2. Charging businesses and entities $5,000 for mandating vaccines
DeSantis has made it clear that he does not support mandating vaccines, especially employees, as that would exacerbate staffing shortages.
As such, all businesses around Florida have been banned from even thinking of mandating Covid-vaccines from its employees, let alone customers, before servicing them.
The Department of Health in Florida warned state establishments and companies from requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccine from residents and employees.
At the beginning of the year, the Republican-led Florida Legislature passed a bill that banned businesses, governments and educational institutions from requiring vaccine proof from the residents.
The bill was signed into law in early May by Gov. DeSantis, and with that, the state's Department of Health was given leeways to issue fines that do not exceed $5,000.
On August 27, the DOH filed a rule to explain how they will enforce the measure and how the $5,000 fine will be tabled.
The fine will either be per individual and or separate violation, where violators will be issued with a notice that allows them to appeal their fine. And as soon as the fine is finalized, charged parties will have 30 days to pay, and it remains unclear if entities that do not meet this obligation will lose their operating licences or not.
3. Fighting Schools that seeks to mandate masks
Gov. DeSantis' fight with schools on Covid-19 protocols has been in full swing since August when infections surged.
In July, the governor instituted a ban on masks in schools across the state, just before school terms started.
However, some schools took the state to court, challenging this and were lucky with the judge swatting DeSantis' ban on masks. He later appealed this decision and won.
During August, few days after schools had opened, this is what unravelled:
- Thousands of pupils across the state were forced to quarantine following a spike in positive Covid-19 cases.
- Several schools in the state have had to shut down to allow deep cleaning and sanitizing.
- Principals, teachers, and staff had a short time to find ways to help manage and prevent the spread of the Delta variant.
- The majority of the schools have since moved to classes online in an effort to mitigate the damage.
Child cases have increased exponentially after declining in early summer, with nearly 500,000 cases in the past two weeks.
The increase in Covid-19 cases among children across Florida can be attributed to kids' return to school.
4. DeSantis is not only fighting schools in court, but he's also suspending their funding
Earlier this month, several media houses reported that the Florida Department of Education had withheld funds from two school districts that made masks mandatory in classrooms this fall.
This was a clear threat from the state to local school boards that required students to wear masks, and as such, they were punished financially.
The penalty applied to two schools in the Alachua County and Broward County district with mask mandates defying the DeSantis' order.
Broward County Public Schools, later on, released an official statement saying that they would continue to enforce its mask mandate for the time being.
Biden's administration advised schools that are stripped of funding due to Covid-19 precautions to use the federal stimulus funds to even out the amount that has been cut by state departments.
5. Opposing two significant Covid-19 measures, vaccines and masks
DeSantis has been wrong on so many issues regarding the coronavirus pandemic, but he became worse during the wave of the Delta variant.
The governor has long been vocal about his opposition to things like vaccine mandates among the state's population, mask mandates in schools and went as far as signing a bill to make this point.
DeSantis said he was considering options for opposing the mandatory vaccine move from the Biden Administration.
He also argued that trying to force vaccines on reluctant people will stiffen their resistance to getting the shots.
It is alleged that he is purposefully prohibiting mask mandates and discouraging vaccines. People would need the monoclonal antibodies that the federal government has just cut their intake from.
This whole time, the state of Florida has prioritized monoclonal antibody treatment, and these treatments are considered effective if administered early in an infection.
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