Gov. Ron DeSantis, appearing on the Monday night edition of Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel, got the friendliest possible forum to offer his side of the coronavirus response narrative.
Among the chyrons: “How Florida succeeded where New York failed.”
Pilloried all day Tuesday on CNN and MSNBC, the Governor finally received what could be described as equal time, with Hannity cueing him up via an extended rant about New York’s Governor and COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
DeSantis, unburdened by the optics of a hospital presser and the unfriendliness of follow-up questions, could relax … and he did.
Spinning Florida’s stats in the best possible way, Hannity served as hypeman for a Governor who needed one.
Even though the segment wasn’t in the A block, and even though Hannity talked much more than the bleary-eyed chief executive of the Sunshine State, it was friendly coverage … but with an interesting talking point or two.
Hannity conceded a “dramatic increase” in cases in Florida, “but it’s happening among younger people.”
“We have no doubt seen a major increase in cases. The median age of our new cases was in the fifties, now it’s dropped into the 30s,” DeSantis noted, saying that people who are “healthy and under 40, the death rate is near zero.”
As of the most recent Florida Department of Health numbers, the median age of most recent positive tests is precisely 40.
The Governor also addressed “increased traffic in hospitals” in Miami, but found a silver lining to that, too.
“They’re actually seeing fewer hospitalizations from people in nursing homes,” DeSantis said. “That’s actually a good sign, because that’s where the number one risk of mortality is.”
Hannity produced a stat saying the age with most cases is 21, a slide used by the Governor in a press conference at some point fairly recently, then moved on immediately to a slide displaying Florida’s 1.8% fatality for positive cases, setting the stage for an extended discussion of the “case fatality rate.”
“If a case occurs in someone in their 20s, you have radically different fatality prospects than someone who’s in a long term care facility in their 80s,” the Governor said.
Though some time could have been spent discussing the increasing median age of new patients, it wasn’t. The focus was on death rates, and the narrative holds as long as the mortality rate stays low.
The stats are stark otherwise.
With 7,361 new diagnoses on Tuesday’s report from the Department of Health, 213,794 people have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday morning’s update.
Hospitals are strained also. Per CNN, 56 ICUs are at capacity, with another 35 with just 10% open space.