- The Washington Times
Thursday, February 11, 2021

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

“I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country,” then-presidential candidate Joe Biden said in October.

Apparently, that’s a lie.


The Biden administration is considering imposing domestic travel restrictions, including on Florida, fearing the spread of coronavirus mutations, the Miami Herald reported yesterday.

Putting the constitutionality of this potential move aside, the bottom line is it’s anti-science and designed to further politicize the virus by pitting red states against blue states.

The mainstream media and the Biden administration have repeatedly tried to demonize Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handling of the virus, while lauding blue state governors such as New York‘s Andrew Cuomo.

This politicization is not saving lives. The average deaths per million in red states (1,384) is only marginally higher than those in blue states (1,292), despite blue state measures that are nearly twice as strict. States that have chosen to live with the virus have, on average, lower unemployment rates and more children returning to in-person learning than states that have chosen otherwise.

I repeat: Red states, including Florida, have opened their economies and returned their children to school, with no meaningful increase in mortality rates.

The mainstream media would like you to believe all age groups are at risk of dying from the coronavirus, but that’s simply not true. Reviewing the Centers for Disease Control data, coronavirus deaths are negligible for those 65 years old and younger. In Florida, even for those above age 65, deaths are not much higher than during years when there were influenza outbreaks.

So why even consider something as draconian as a domestic travel ban? And then why specifically single out Florida, and not say, New York?

Florida has 2 million more residents than New York and far more seniors. It has 26,000 coronavirus deaths compared with New York’s 43,000. As of Jan. 30, Florida had 7,600 new cases (a 4.3 percent increase) compared to New York’s 10,800 new cases (a 6.3 percent spike). Florida is ahead of New York on vaccinations and has lower hospitalizations.

So why Florida? I have an idea — Mr. DeSantis is a rising Republican star and therefore needs to be framed by the national media and Democrats as a boogeyman. Facts be damned, the GOP-bad narrative must be pursued.

As President Biden is learning, shutting down the virus is no easy task, and will likely be accomplished through mass vaccinations, thanks in part to President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed.

Shutting down domestic travel is authoritarian, anti-science and an absurd proposition to anyone other than a hardened politician looking to score political points against an up-and-coming rival. Period.


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