The authors begin with a general comparison:
There’s one state in America that has a larger elderly population than New York, that is more ethnically diverse than New York, and that has two million more people than New York. Yet its death rate from COVID-19 is 5 percent that of New York. That state is Florida.
In March, Florida was projected to be the second-worst state for COVID-19 deaths, with predictions of 174 per day and a total of nearly 7,000 by the end of the summer. Nothing like this has transpired and it will not come to pass.
Only one state has a higher percentage of elder Americans living in it than Florida — Maine. In Florida, that population constitutes over 20 percent of the state. In New York, it’s just over 16 percent.
So how did Florida do so well, when New York had a Superstar governor leading the charge? Here's how:
... Florida shut down its state much later than New York, almost two weeks later. And there was much criticism for its delay. The shutdown in Florida was also much less severe than New York’s. Florida did not close churches and synagogues, nor did it order the shuttering of most of its beaches.
What DeSantis did do was take a much more vertical approach to the virus than others, like Cuomo. In early March, DeSantis put out targeted and preventative messaging to his elder population, advising them to stay at home. In places like The Villages (home to over 125,000 retirees), DeSantis implemented golf-cart drive-through coronavirus testing. He deployed the National Guard to help institute testing in the state’s nursing homes where, unlike New York, older COVID-19 patients were not sent.
Early on, DeSantis suspended visitation and ordered staff screening at long-term care facilities. He also dispatched millions of masks and gloves and hundreds of thousands of face shields and gowns, also known as personal protective equipment, to nursing homes and other centers caring for the elderly. These actions, among others, led Florida to a 93 percent better per capita long-term care facility death rate than New York.
What a concept--screen those in the closest contact with the vulnerable!
But, in my view, what this also illustrates--as discussed recently in The Miami-Dade Test Results--And "My" Narrative--is that the Wuhan virus is probably not as infectious as originally feared. In fact, its R0 may actually be elevated by the failure to implement basic protections for those who are in the most infection-friendly environments--the elderly in long term care facilities.
For most of the population, a larger dose of the virus is probably required before actually contracting the disease: Covid19. Sensible precautions can mitigate the threat: masking in crowded locations, senior shopping hours, targeted quarantines. But above all, testing and monitoring of personnel at care facilities housing the vulnerable.
Imagine what American would be like at this point if more governors had followed DeSantis' lead.
UPDATE: Just as I and several commenters were saying, Trump's gotta pivot ...
Trump knows how to looks for solutions, and when he sees a guy who seems to have found one he talks to him.