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Nothing can hide the descent from Florida to Crazyville. Not the “Don’t Step On Florida” alligator signs held by supporters of Governor Ron DeSantis during his latest COVID-19 policy proposal announcement.

Not the new Ivy League-trained state surgeon general, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, who, as reports, refused – refused! – to wear a mask when he met State Senator Tina Polsky in her office in Tallahassee. The state senator, who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach counties, has cancer.

Crazy. We thought things couldn’t get worse in DeSantis’ handling of the pandemic, but we were wrong – then we were wrong again. Just when you think he’s done enough to undermine our chances of coming out of a pandemic that has killed nearly 60,000 Floridians, he has another trick up his sleeve.

DeSantis’ latest move, announced last week, is to call a special legislative session to undermine federal demands announced by President Joe Biden that certain workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Among the laws he wants lawmakers to pass are corporate liability for medical damages resulting from mandatory vaccinations, even though millions of vaccines have been administered safely in the United States.

DeSantis tried for months to walk a tightrope between pleasing the anti-vaccines and not undermining the vaccines his own administration handed out. If there was any doubt as to which side he favors, last week’s announcement put the nail in the coffin.

He has every incentive to ignore the facts and continue to stoke COVID denial and anti-vax fervor. His policy proposals are usually followed by a fundraising pitch from his campaign to potential donors, as the USA Today Network reported. This model worked for DeSantis, who outraged his Democratic opponents in next year’s election.

Not that he cares too much about 2022. It’s probably 2024 that he’s got his eyes set on, and he’ll do whatever it takes to please the “Don’t Tread On Me” crowd, which he hopes. inherit from Donald Trump. It is if the former president does not crush the presidential aspirations of his protege by presenting himself.

The state’s death toll is just a footnote in the governor’s playbook. Compare that with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which have said they may relax their mask requirement. This decision will be based on data and advice from a working group of doctors.

When the mask’s warrant was announced, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho vowed to reassess pandemic conditions every week. Seven criteria must be met before restrictions are lifted, including a benchmark of 80% of eligible students who have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine and two consecutive weeks of an average of seven days of COVID-19 cases less than 100 per 100,000 people.

Fortunately, with coronavirus cases and hospitalizations declining in Miami-Dade County and Florida, students may soon be able to attend schools without masks. If the opposite were true, they would have to wear masks for longer. It sounds so simple, but the governor doesn’t believe in using data.

Instead, DeSantis appears to be getting his scientific advice from far-right Ladapo, a Harvard-trained doctor with no public health expertise, who questions vaccines and attended a press conference with a far-right group. called America’s Frontline Doctors. year to promote hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID, which the FDA says is not effective. Another member of this group once said that uterine disease is caused by sex with demons that takes place in dreams. We are not making this up.

Neither does the governor, who wants taxpayers to pay to send lawmakers to Tallahassee for a special session for this nonsense. Florida House and Senate leaders seem poised to jump on the bandwagon. They released a statement Thursday saying they are considering the governor’s request and may consider legislation to remove Florida from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the agency responsible for executing the mandate of Biden’s vaccination.

It is not known if they can actually do it, but the feasibility is not the question. This is going to give Fox News and other right-wing disinformation outlets a lot of fodder. This will make DeSantis and the Republicans sound like heroes in their echo chamber.

Meanwhile, school districts like the one in Miami-Dade really need to govern and make decisions that will impact the health of students, faculty, and staff. They don’t have the luxury of getting their chest pounded from a capital nearly 800 kilometers away.

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