Documentary filmmaker tries to bury Gov. DeSantis over COVID response; gets burned by facts

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A liberal documentary filmmaker was dragged online after posting a link to a New Republic story that was rife with criticism regarding GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic in his state.

In naming DeSantis “Scoundrel of the Year,” the profanity-laced piece by Jeb Lund excoriates the governor essentially for keeping the state largely operational and open during the pandemic and for refusing to impose a statewide mask mandate, among other things.

The governor “has created a statewide environment of depraved indifference to human life and either engaged in or tolerated a conspiracy to suppress information affecting Floridians’ mortal safety, and in any other circumstance we would call him a murderer,” Lund wrote in a passage quoted on Twitter by South Florida resident Billy Corben, who has produced films for HBO and ESPN, among others.

“Ronald DeSantis, the First Impaired Boater of the Intracoastal Waterway, a man whose administration has overseen four times the number of deaths to Covid-19 as the state lost to the Civil War, is only halfway through his first term as someone who will do Nothing to jeopardize his chances of becoming president,” Lund continued.

“His world is a liminal space, the Governor’s Mansion an especially classy van on the way between gigs. You can stuff the ground with dead, but he’ll never trip over the bumps because he’s never really been here. The true cost of the Florida dead will be felt, if it is felt at all, at the exact second it costs him the next office and not a second sooner,” he added.

But Lund — and Corben — were both fact-checked by a number of Twitter users who pointed out that coronavirus death rates in Democrat-run states including California, New York, and New Jersey are far more and far higher, per capita, than in Florida.

“Florida has a lower death rate, per capita, than New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois and DC, despite having the 5th oldest population in the country (higher than all 7 of the states I mentioned). So, you’re wrong,” one user wrote.

Another user posted a screenshot of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chart updated on Tuesday showing that New York City, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, in that order, were the top three regions with the highest death rates per 100,000 people. Florida made the list at 22 with 98 deaths per 100,000, below New York State at No. 18 with 110 deaths per 100,000.

Others simply railed on Corben for posting the story.

Meanwhile, a separate CDC chart focusing on average daily cases over the past seven days shows California at the top of the list with 95.3, followed by Arizona (84.6), Tennessee (75.3), Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware (75.3), and Rhode Island (72.4).

Florida is well down the list at No. 30 (43.8), lower than New York City (52.4) and New York State (62.7), the latter of which is run by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who published a book earlier this fall touting his leadership during the pandemic.

Notably, Florida has a large retirement community, but a far lower death rate than New York City and New York State.

Also, early on DeSantis moved to protect the state’s nursing home population after health experts realized that the virus was especially deadly to older Americans and those with preexisting conditions.

By comparison, Cuomo ordered New York nursing homes to accept coronavirus-infected patients, which studies have indicated greatly increased COVID-19 deaths in his state.

In July, Cuomo’s administration released a “victory lap” poster glossing over the governor’s handling of the pandemic that was even panned by Jake Tapper at CNN, where his brother, Chris Cuomo, is a host.


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Jon Dougherty


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