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Jennifer Rubin says…

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Author Topic: Jennifer Rubin says…  (Read 585 times)
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Having fun in the hills!

« on: April 03, 2020, 07:02:02 pm »

from The Washington Post…

We must hold politicians responsible for deaths
they could have prevented

Delinquent politicians such as Florida's Ron DeSantis should be held accountable.

By JENNIFER RUBIN | 2:00PM EDT — Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (Republican) in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Monday.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (Republican) in Miami Gardens, Florida, on Monday.


The daily reports from the Florida Department of Health drive the fact home: The number of people testing positive for covid-19 has accelerated rapidly, nearly doubling in the past four days, with 3,274 new cases, bringing the statewide total to 6,741 as of Tuesday evening. The state reported 857 people hospitalized and 85 deaths as of Tuesday, with the heaviest concentration of infection in Broward and Miami-Dade counties along the southeast coast and pockets in other areas like Tampa and Orange County, home of Walt Disney World. On Tuesday alone, 14 deaths were reported in the state, according to the Miami Herald.

It is not hard to figure out why cases and deaths have skyrocketed. Florida has a large elderly population, the second highest in the country by percentage. And that makes it all the more infuriating that Republican Governor Ron DeSantis left open the Florida beaches during spring break. (A Florida attorney is suing the state, since a statewide beach closure is still not in effect.) It was not until March 20 that DeSantis ordered the beaches, bars and restaurants in Broward and Palm Beach counties closed.

On Wednesday, DeSantis finally issued a statewide stay-at-home order after resisting doing so, even though his state is sixth in the country in the number of infections. He previously said that he was waiting for the federal government to tell him what to do. (“If any of those task force folks tell me that we should do X, Y or Z, of course, we're going to consider it.”)

This was a state that could have benefited from the foresight of other hot spots in the country, such as New York, Illinois, Maryland and California. DeSantis could have observed the news conferences of both Republican and Democratic governors who took the initiative to close schools, shutter businesses and mandate social distancing — all measures we know will save lives by slowing the spread of the virus and preventing the health-care system from being overrun.

DeSantis's delay in taking steps to save lives — steps that are patently obvious — is reckless in the extreme and morally indefensible. No state is immune to the virus nor to fatalities. But the difference between the inescapable, unpreventable deaths and the death count that will result from willfully ignorant and stubbornly counter-productive decisions falls on the heads of political decision-makers. DeSantis will be morally — if not legally — responsible for hundreds if not thousands of preventable deaths.

The same is true at the national level. South Korea moved expeditiously to quash the virus by a massive testing, contact tracing and isolation policy. The New York Times reported last week, “South Korea has tested far more people for the coronavirus than any other country, enabling it to isolate and treat many people soon after they are infected. The country has conducted over 300,000 tests, for a per-capita rate more than 40 times that of the United States.”

The United States, by contrast, dithered for months. President Trump, not unlike DeSantis, denied the severity and extent of the problem. He (still has) refused to issue a national stay-at-home order. We bollixed our testing program. We did not prepare our health-care providers with adequate protective equipment and ventilators. Now we see the results. As The N.Y. Times reported:

It may be “too late,” [epidemiologist] Dr. Ki said, for countries deep into epidemics to control outbreaks as quickly or efficiently as South Korea has.

Weeks ago, Trump's former director of the Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb tweeted, “In U.S. we face two alternative but hard outlooks with #COVID19: that we follow a path similar to South Korea or one closer to Italy. We probably lost chance to have an outcome like South Korea. We must do everything to avert the tragic suffering being borne by Italy.”

For weeks after that, Trump talked nonsense: suggesting a return to business by Easter; refusing to assume purchasing authority at the national level for critical material (which could then be allocated to states as they needed); minimizing the testing problem; and suggesting untested remedies. The failure to prepare and the foot-dragging that has followed will mean the health-care system will be more stressed, more people will contract and spread the virus, and more people will get sick and die. Yes, those deaths — the losses that could have been prevented by sane, sensible decisions his own advisers were urging — are on Trump's head. No amount of spin will absolve him of that responsibility.


Jennifer Rubin writes reported opinion from a center-right perspective for The Washington Post. She covers a range of domestic and foreign policy issues and provides insight into the conservative movement, the Republican Party and threats to Western democracies. Rubin, who is also an MSNBC contributor, came to The Post after three years with Commentary magazine. Prior to her career in journalism, Rubin practiced labor law for two decades, an experience that informs and enriches her work. She is a mother of two sons and lives in Northern Virginia.

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