Last Call for 8.12.21 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried used her daily COVID-19 briefing to point out that oncoming tropical depression Fred could complicate Florida’s COVID-19 wave.

Fred is moving toward Cuba as of the National Hurricane Center’s latest report Thursday afternoon. The storm is expected to strengthen slowly before turning west-northwest and impacting Florida. The center advised South Florida and the Florida Keys to monitor Fred’s progress and stated a Tropical Storm Watch is likely to be issued for those areas.

Speaking to reporters at Thursday’s briefing, Fried said vaccinations and masks should be a part of hurricane season preparations.

“As you prepare for hurricane season ramping up, be sure to get your vaccinations and be prepared with emergency food, water, masks, and medical supplies in advance,” Fried said.

Fried warned getting COVID-19 in the midst of an evacuation could complicate already complicated matters.

“The last thing you want to have to worry about is if you were evacuating your home is getting COVID at a hurricane shelter,” Fried said.

She then segued into criticism of Gov. Ron DeSantis for not instituting mask requirements at shelters. Fried is running for Governor in the 2022 Democratic Primary.

“Our Governor also refuses to institute mask requirements at shelters. So, remember to bring your masks, if you have to actually evacuate,” Fried said.

In discussing the importance of masks, Fried pointed to a recently released Duke University study that found masks effectively prevented COVID-19 transmission even without physical distancing in schools and on buses.

“This is something that we as a community and as a state need to come together on,” Fried said. 

Evening Reads

How the pandemic now ends” via Ed Yong of The Atlantic

What happened to Joe Biden’s ‘Summer of Freedom’ from the pandemic?” via Benjamin Wallace-Wells of The New Yorker

Census data shows the number of White people in the U.S. fell for first time since 1790” via Tara Bahrampour and Ted Mellnik of The Washington Post

Census: Florida defies decline in population growth as nation becomes more diverse” via Mary Ellen Klas and Shirsho Dasgupta of the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

The delta doldrums” via Anna North of Vox

‘I’m not gonna get it’: A neighborhood refuses vaccines despite COVID-19’s wreckage” via Téa Kvetenadze of POLITICO

The march of the Karens” via Ligaya Mishan of The New York Times

Florida’s boondoggle bridge carries a curse for all who touch it” via Craig Pittman of the Florida Phoenix

How the House got stuck at 435 seats” via Geoffrey Skelley of FiveThirtyEight

The only thing worse than leaving Afghanistan? Staying.” via Walter Shapiro of The New Republic

Quote of the Day

“Will the mask prevent the spread of every single case? No, nothing can do that. But will it mitigate and have the kids have a better chance of staying safe while staying in school? I think absolutely.” — Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare pediatrician Tom Truman, after TMH announced the death of a child younger than five at the hospital.

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