Dear Gov. DeSantis: Don’t be Leon Lett!
Image via The Associated Press.

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DeSantis' messaging may be premature.

Imagine you’re in the Super Bowl and you break free after recovering a fumble for an easy touchdown run. You’re inches from the goal line and start celebrating a bit too early when a speedy wide receiver slaps the ball from your hand, causing another fumble and denying what should have been an easy score.

You know, like Leon Lett in the Super Bowl XXVII in the still famous play where Don Beebe became the hero despite his team ultimately taking a walloping.

There’s an analogy in here for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ continued COVID-19 response. Despite some early fumbles, Florida has faired comparatively well and, despite all of the partisan hating against him, he’s been right plenty of times.

But we now see him really letting loose, grabbing a cold beer in Daytona for Bike week, for example, and talking about how he won’t let President Joe Biden lockdown Florida.

We don’t want Florida to be locked down again, but that doesn’t mean the pandemic isn’t still gaining on us. More than 1.3 million people traveled by plane on Friday ahead of Spring Break, more than at any point during the pandemic. Many of them celebrated in their various destinations maskless, prompting the CDC to renew calls for caution in anticipation for a possible new surge in cases.

A 4th of July barbecue sounds marvelous, but unless more Floridians get vaccinated, and quick, they might just not happen. The Governor’s messaging on such things might stem from optimism and a genuine hope that Floridians can begin a return to normalcy, but the reality is, even if the goal line is close, we’re still not passed it, and celebrating now could give a COVID-19 a chance at a final play.

Take Europe for example, where some alarming trends are emerging. The reassuring dip in new cases in January gave way to a new spike. Italy is headed back into lockdown mode as a result. And we know that in Europe, the COVID-19 crisis has always been just a few weeks ahead of us.

Our own people are already throwing up warning signals. Speaking on The Takeout with CBS News’ Major Garrett last week, Dr. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and member of Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board, pointed to the rise in the B.1.1.7 strain surging in Florida. The strain, which originated in the U.K., is highly transmittable and some of the vaccines being administered in the U.S. might not be as effective in blocking it, though the vaccine is said to be effective in keeping the seriousness of the illness at bay.

We love living in the “Free State of Florida,” as DeSantis loves to call it, but we don’t want to be those people who were just about to get a vaccine, but got COVID-19 instead.

The message here is clear: take the precautions you need to take, even if that means ignoring mixed messages from a Governor whose interest is clearly just as much on 2024 as it is on the immediacy of this pandemic.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


One comment

  • Todd Priest

    March 17, 2021 at 9:37 am

    Oh save it. If you want to hide under your bed you’re free to do so.

Comments are closed.


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