Here’s how Florida vs California’s very different COVID strategies match up

Out in Hollywood, it would be an easy script for liberals to write.

California’s own Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom would be the hero, valiantly protecting his people from the ravages of COVID-19. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis – or #DeathSantis as some label him – would be the villain, allowing the virus to roam free, imperiling all caught in its path.

Real-life, however, is more nuanced, as Fox News Editor Bradford Betz explained on Monday.

“Florida, which has been more open and less restricted than its West Coast counterpart, has recorded just above 1.5 million cases. Yet California, despite being among the strictest in the nation when it comes to COVID lockdowns, has recorded nearly twice that figure since the start of the pandemic,” Betz noted.

That’s not surprising. California’s population nearly doubles that of Florida.

But Betz observed, “Both states have roughly the same number of cases per 100,000 residents.” In other words, the infection rates are roughly equal.

Florida’s COVID-19 death rate is higher – about 110 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 81 for California. Yet, Fox points out, “The higher numbers, however, may reflect Florida’s older population.”

In fact, Florida has the second-largest ratio of people aged 65-plus, trailing only Maine. California meanwhile, ranks 45th.

Betz continued, “CDC data indicates that California’s death rate is gaining ground on Florida, with seven-day average daily deaths at 1.4 per 100,000 residents, compared to Florida’s 0.8 per 100,000. And as of Saturday, positive tests in California are also higher at 105 new cases per 100,000 to Florida’s 64 per 100,000.”

And, the network added, “California’s hospitalization rates have also surpassed Florida, at 56 per 100,000 residents, compared with Florida at around 36 per 100,000 residents.”

Newsom’s failures are occurring despite his demands for stringent lockdowns and mask mandates, which have gone on for months now.

Back in June, for example, Newsom pointed out to his constituents, “You are now REQUIRED to wear a mask in public spaces. We’re seeing too many people with faces uncovered. Wearing a face covering is critical for keeping people safe and healthy, keeping businesses open, and getting people back to work. Do your part. Wear your mask.”

And here’s an example of how that’s working out.

DeSantis, on the other hand, has touted his hands-off approach.

In an interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson last month, DeSantis noted that all businesses and schools had remained open for months, and Florida was proving resilient.

“A lot of these lockdowns have been very ineffective. They have huge negative consequences,” he told Carlson. DeSantis, added, “In my view, everybody is essential. Who is government to say your job is not essential.”

“The virus is a problem. We need to deal with it. But you also need to deal with all of society,” the governor added.

Fox didn’t touch on economic activity. But Florida is winning there, too.

Florida’s unemployment rate as of December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was 6.4 percent, compared to 8.2 percent for California.

And as the Census Bureau pointed out last month, Florida’s population grew by 1.1 percent in 2020, making it the seventh fastest-growing state in America. California meanwhile, was one of 16 states that lost residents. While the story of Californians relocating to Texas has made headlines, the fact is that the list of last year’s top 10 population gainers is littered with states bordering or near California, including Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, and Washington.



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