During a Friday segment of Cuomo Prime Time on vaccine hesitancy and disinformation, namesake host Chris Cuomo spread some disinformation of his own by insinuating Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is encouraging people not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Speaking of DeSantis, Cuomo alleged, "he's a smart guy. He got vaccinated, he was doing the vaccine thing early on. Now, he’s going bad on it."
To fellow CNN host Michael Smerconish, he asked, "Is there [any] advantage in playing up this 'don't get vaccinated' movement, in terms of it being anti-institution, 'don't let Big Brother tell you what to do,' 'the left is sneaky,' 'Fauci looks sneaky.' Do you think there is advantage for that on the right?"
DeSantis has been vocal in his opposition to vaccine passports, mandates, and is selling anti-Fauci merchandise, but has never said "don't get vaccinated." The anti-Fauci fundraising is about masks and lockdowns, not vaccines. If Cuomo can't understand the difference between being against mandates and being against vaccines, that's on him, not DeSantis.
Smerconish aided in the disinformation with the dubious blanket statement, "You know, Chris, if you did sort of an overlay of the 2020 election results and the vaccination rate you'd see a hell of a lot of similarity."
Cuomo's second guest, Planned Parenthood president Dr. Leana Wen, then complained about the CDC removing indoor mask mandates for vaccinated individuals as allowing for unvaccinated people to also go without masks indoors.
According to the CDC, 97% of COVID patients requiring hospitalization are unvaccinated, but Wen declared the vaccinated individuals still need to wear masks, "By saying that fully vaccinated people can take off their masks but not having any way to verify this and just saying we need to trust the honor system. People are not behaving honorably."
The people who remain unvaccinated need to be convinced and telling them that nothing will change regardless will just confirm their suspicions that restrictions will last forever, or worse, that the vaccines don't work. That is far more damaging to the vaccination campaign than any anti-Fauci beer koozie.
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Here is a transcript for the July 17 show:
Cuomo Prime Time
9:09 PM ET
CHRIS CUOMO: You know Looking at DeSantis down in Florida, he's a smart guy. He got vaccinated, he was doing the vaccine thing heavy on, early on. Now, he’s going bad on it. Is there advantage in playing up this “don't get vaccinated” movement, in terms of it being anti-institution, don't let Big Brother tell you what to do, the left is sneaky, Fauci looks sneaky. Do you think there is advantage for that on the right?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH: I do. If you're asking me I think that there is, and the data that I would point to is you were talking about those areas of the country where vaccination lags behind the national average. You know, Chris, if you did sort of an overlay of the 2020 election results and the vaccination rate you'd see a hell of a lot of similarity. So it would help, I would think, DeSantis to be the “don't tread on me” guy in primary season. Whether he could sell that to suburbanites and win a general election nationwide that remains to be seen.
CUOMO: So, we’re seeing the cases come up, Dr. Wen, and we expected this, once you get rid of the restrictions and the masks come off we see how many people get sinus infections and good old stomach viruses again, right? We haven't seen those for a year or so. We expected that. The hedge was the vaccine would take up the slack and help people not get that sick. It's not happening and now you're seeing the cases come up which are [the] concern for Fall.
LEANA WEN: Well, I was hoping we could get through the Summer. My prediction is that we would have a good Summer and then we'd see cases potentially surge again in the Fall. It's already gotten bad and we're only in the middle of July. And I have to go back to what you and I talked about a while ago, Chris, which is that the CDC really made a big mistake here. By saying that fully vaccinated people can take off their masks but not having any way to verify this and just say that we need to trust the honor system. People are not behaving honorably. The unvaccinated are basically saying 'well, it's open season for me, I can do whatever I want as well' and as a result we did not incentivize people to get vaccinated. It was exactly the opposite. These restrictions got removed, people are doing whatever they want to and unfortunately, we are seeing surges as result. Now it's going to be really hard to put the genie back in the bottle and that's what I'm afraid of. These states that have really low vaccination rates, they need indoor mask mandates now, but that's not going to happen so we’re going to get more preventable deaths.