Two progressive Democratic groups are launching a digital video decrying Gov. Ron DeSantis for listening to controversial advisers to support his COVID-19 strategies, which the groups say have left 2 million Floridians infected and 33,000 dead.
Progress Florida and Florida Watch suggest that DeSantis’ March 18 roundtable discussion featuring some of the nation’s most renowned anti science-establishment figures could have served as dark comedy — if they hadn’t been making a public case supporting his coronavirus policies.
“If this was a story in The Onion or a skit on ‘Saturday Night Live’ it would be hilarious,” said Josh Weierbach, Executive Director of Florida Watch. “But unfortunately, it’s our real Governor making real policy that’s having real and deadly consequences for our families.”
The progressive groups’ volley is not exactly a rapid response. The conference was nearly a month ago and had been hashed and rehashed weeks ago. DeSantis since has moved on to other battles over other attacks against aspects of his coronavirus policies.
The groups’ 45-second video mashes some of the more controversial advice and observations offered at the roundtable by Sunetra Gupta, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Dr. Martin Kulldorff and Dr. Scott Atlas. Those comments ranged from masks — “in some ways they’ve been harmful” — to contact tracing being a “completely wrong strategy.”
The day after the roundtable, DeSantis told host Laura Ingraham of the “Ingraham Angle” “it was important to take stock into — OK it’s been a year, there have been been different policy approaches, which approaches have been successful.”
In a joint news release, Progress Florida and Florida Watch called DeSantis’ entourage a “roundtable of COVID quacks.”
The five points made at the roundtable highlighted in the video include assertions that:
— Lockdowns are the single biggest public health mistake in history.
— Contact tracing is a completely wrong strategy.
— Masks are harmful.
— Every school should be opened with no restrictions.
— Children shouldn’t wear masks for their protection or others’.
“It didn’t come up during the more than one hour long roundtable that every credible public health organization from the CDC to the World Health Organization to DeSantis’ own Department of Health stresses that people should wear masks,” the news release says.