In a recent press conference, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was clear. First, he went through the declining number of positive COVID tests, hospitalizations, and emergency room visits. Of particular note, seropositivity for COVID-19 antibodies is at 20-25%, while the percent positive for the virus has fallen to 5-6% of tests. Most important, he emphatically stated that Florida would not be participating in future lockdowns should they occur:
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL): “We understand what we need to do [to fight COVID]. But we will never do any of these lockdowns again. I hear people say they'll shut down the country and honestly I cringe.” pic.twitter.com/qgpNTlhw80
— The Recount (@therecount) August 31, 2020
The pattern DeSantis is describing can be seen in several states throughout the sunbelt. Three other Republican governors have taken the most criticism for their policies. Georgia, Utah and Arizona have all resisted calls for statewide mask mandates and renewed lockdowns. Still, these states are seeing the same decline observed in New York with fewer deaths and less economic impact. The number of positive tests per day is also declining nationwide.
This decline could be why, despite reporting that up to 90% of tests are so sensitive that the virus detected can’t cause an infection or be transmitted, The New York Times found Health Experts™ to advocate for more testing. It could also be why there is a concerted effort in the same paper to discredit Dr. Scott Atlas for supporting guidelines that discourage asymptomatic testing.
The media and Democrats want to keep you scared. If you aren’t, you may actually follow the advice of the Health Experts™ who are telling you it is as safe to go vote as it is to go to Walmart. You might just grab your questionably useful mask and go to the polls. That will ruin the chaos they strive to create in the event of another electoral loss for Democrats.
Several other red-state governors need to stand with DeSantis in rejecting the idea of another draconian lockdown. Governor Kemp of Georgia, Governor Ducey of Arizona, Governor Herbert of Utah, and Governor Noem of South Dakota all resisted pressure to infringe on the liberty of their citizens in the name of public health. Yet their results are arguably better than the states that did, like New York and New Jersey. Governor Abbott of Texas can join the other red-state leaders if he quickly comes to his senses.
These leaders should demand the CDC actively work on the following items to appropriately prepare in the event COVID-19 recirculates in conjunction with the flu:
- Figure out how to make the PCR test accurate, only testing positive when the viral load is capable of being transmitted and causing an infection.
- Stop the insanity around hydroxychloroquine and authorize it either over the counter or for use in outpatient COVID-19. Let doctors and patients decide together whether to use it.
- Develop a sentinel testing plan to monitor at-risk populations in nursing homes and other assisted living facilities.
- Prohibit moronic governors from mandating or incentivizing returning COVID-19 patients to nursing homes and other at-risk settings.
Any quarantine should be limited to sick individuals capable of transmitting the virus. If you are ill, stay at home, just like when you are sick with any other upper respiratory virus, since forever. As a recent study noted, lockdowns are projected to cost ten times as many life years as the virus itself. Doing it again would be genuinely cringeworthy, as Governor DeSantis notes. Future lockdowns should be resisted at every level.