Omicron spreads. The media say, “Governments must act!”
Many have, bringing back mask mandates and closing schools.
Do these rules work?
My new video shows why Florida’s approach is better.
Gov. Ron DeSantis ended pandemic restrictions last spring and refuses to impose new ones. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” he said. Lockdown states let “hysteria drive them to do really damaging things.”
The media hate him for saying things like that.
“Some governors are putting their own political gain ahead of children’s lives,” said CNN anchor Don Lemon.
If you watch most TV news, you’d think the rules, bans and shutdowns really save lives. Florida killed people because Florida didn’t impose tougher rules, we’re told.
“Florida leads the nation in new COVID cases,” says Action News in Tampa.
“Florida has the worst rate of coronavirus anywhere in the country!” rants “The Young Turks” host Cenk Uygur.
But it’s not true.
Florida has had fewer deaths than 16 other states.
Mississippi, Arizona, Alabama and New Jersey had the most deaths per capita. New York, where most TV anchors and I live, had the sixth most deaths.
Florida did better even though Florida has more high-risk old people.
What’s going on?
The media rarely just lie. Most simply cite Florida when deaths are high and ignore the state when deaths fall. They deceive by omission. Florida’s good numbers just don’t fit the reporters’ biases.
But even some pro-lockdown politicians know that less regulated Florida is no more dangerous than other states.
After Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez complained that “anti-shutdown people” are “spreading COVID all over the place,” she was filmed partying in Florida.
Two days after Rep. Eric Swalwell sneered that “Republican liars ... prolonged” the pandemic ... “your vacation cancelled,” he was photographed in Miami.
DeSantis laughs about this. “If I had a dollar for every lockdown politician who decided to escape to Florida over the last two years, I’d be a pretty doggone wealthy man.”
Fewer rules allow people to build better lives for themselves. Lack of shutdowns is one reason Florida’s unemployment rate is 4.5%, well below New York’s 6.6%.
Does this mean shutdowns and mask mandates are useless -- and less regulated Florida has the answer?
No. We can’t say that. There’s no clear pattern.
Yes, strict mandate states like New York, New Jersey and Michigan have some of the worst death counts, but California had strict mandates and fewer deaths.
The one clear trend: Lockdowns don’t stop COVID-19, but they do destroy opportunity. California’s unemployment is the highest in America.
Florida did some bad things. DeSantis should pay more attention to his own pro-freedom speeches. Last year, he decreed that even private companies may not require customers or workers to be vaccinated.
Governor? They’re private companies! They should have the right to make their own decisions. It’s usually the totalitarian left that won’t let people set their own rules.
Aside from that nastiness, Florida’s COVID-19 policies are among the most sensible.
Since lockdowns won’t stop the virus, we must learn to live with it. Thanks to vaccines and new drugs that reduce COVID-19's effects, now most of us can.
“We don’t have to upend human life in our quest to eliminate COVID ... which can’t happen anyway,” says economist Don Boudreaux.
Giving up these laws is not “admitting defeat” but “admitting reality. We learn to live with COVID in the same way that we learn to live with many other pathogens. ... One day, every one of us is going to be done in by something.”
That’s why I will vacation in Florida this week.
I’ll wear a mask if I’m in a crowd, but most of the time I won’t. It’s a joy to breathe freely.
I might catch omicron. But since I’m vaccinated and fit, I probably won’t die. I might even gain immunities that protect me in the future.
And anyway, “All of us will be done in by something.”
I choose to live free.
John Stossel is creator of Stossel TV and author of “Give Me a Break: How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media.”