During a Wednesday press conference, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis touted the success of his state’s combat against coronavirus, and pointed out the drastic predictions that ultimately did not come true.
A Stanford University study initially projected 465,000 Floridians would be hospitalized due to coronavirus as of April 24. As of April 22, the current number is slightly above 2,000.
Florida confirmed 27,869 cases of coronavirus with 867 deaths. 53 percent of the coronavirus cases are in Miami-Dade county, Palm Beach county, Orange county, and Broward county in south Florida. The state has sustained a somewhat flattened curve for five consecutive days and is two percentage points below the national average in terms of death per case.
“We heard report after report saying it was just a matter of time until Florida’s hospital system was completely overwhelmed with COVID-19. In fact, there was an article in March, in the Miami Herald, that said this week in April Florida could see 465,000 people hospitalized throughout the state of Florida. The reality: slightly more than 2,000,” DeSantis said.
Florida has reopened beaches and plans to reopen local businesses in small phases beginning May 1. The state encourages people to social distance and use extra precautions when leaving their homes. DeSantis said Florida was able to flatten the curve, even while opening beaches.
“Those predictions have been false. Our work is succeeding. We have flattened the curve,” DeSantis said.
"Predictions have been false. Our work is succeeding. We have flattened the curve."
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) April 21, 2020
A Miami Herald story published on March 25 wrote, “Three academic models created with input by epidemiologists and health experts from Stanford, Harvard and Northeastern universities predict anywhere from 450,000 to 700,000 people in Florida are likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19.” Another report in the Tallahassee Democrat quoted the now-false COVID ACT NOW predictions, claiming DeSantis was “bucking advice of health professionals.”
Mainstream media outlets with the similar desire to keep America shut down have posted inaccurate pictures of the recently reopened Jackson Beach.
One image taken by Getty News photographer, likely with a telephoto lens in the 200-400 mm range which gives the picture a compressed look, makes beach-goers appear to be standing close together and ignoring social distancing guidelines. Another picture, taken by a local news outlet at the time of day from a helicopter, makes the same beach look less crowded and with people practicing social distancing guidelines. Based on the angle, the two pictures can tell two completely different stories.
Local news just posted, responding to the outrage by national media outlets of Jax beaches partially reopening, an expose of how their photographers played perspective games with images. Two photos below from same area/time (note the pier) https://t.co/tppm6wZJGR pic.twitter.com/GRpWyVcXNq
— John 'pro-norms' Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) April 20, 2020
Mainstream media outlets and Twitter users shared the Getty News photo to criticize Floridians and make Gov. DeSantis’ decision to reopen beaches appear hazardous.
In some cities, Americans have protested the mandatory government lockdowns which hinder small businesses and caused more than 22 million people to file for unemployment in just four weeks. When prediction models are off by hundreds of thousands and journalists are misrepresenting the reopening of safe outdoor areas, it should come as no surprise that governors like DeSantis are pushing through criticism to open their state economies at a reasonable time.