Florida Is Open, New York Is Closed: The Weaponization Of Covid

Florida Is Open, New York Is Closed: The Weaponization Of Covid

Despite larger populations, currently freer peoples, and a media narrative that screams otherwise, there are far, far fewer deaths in Texas and in Florida than in New York.
Christopher Bedford
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Thus far in Florida, approximately 20,000 people have died of COVID-19. In Texas, the number stands around 24,000, and in New York, about 35,000.

New York is the smallest of the three, with 19.54 million residents. Then comes Florida, with 21.67 million, before Texas, with 28.7 million residents.

COVID numbers are difficult to trust. Cases are often counted more than once as patients go in and out of the hospital, and some deaths are attributed to COVID that are barely related, if at all.

There’s a perverse incentive to write down “COVID” and get state and federal money, no doubt, but one thing rings clear through all the din: Despite larger populations, currently freer peoples, and a media narrative that screams otherwise, there are far, far fewer deaths in Texas and in Florida than in New York.

For months, American media consumers have been treated to news of Florida and Texas’s incoming death spirals. For months after, we were promised those death spirals were just around the bend. The funny thing with COVID, though, is unlike global warming doom science — always 3-12 years away and “too complex” to explain when it inevitably doesn’t happen — COVID doom predictions are checkable in just a few weeks. And COVID doom didn’t happen.

Along Florida’s Gulf Coast, the streets are packed on weekends. In Naples, Florida just one week ago, lights hung majestically from lamp posts, a live Nativity stood in the road, Santa let children sit on his lap, and live bands performed every few blocks. Indoors, the bars were busy, and just after midnight the last pub’s band wound down for the night.

Young parents and some of the elderly wore masks (some old, masked couples dancing adorably to the music), but most people didn’t, and the next morning the beaches and pools were once again bustling. It was the first glimpse of the old normal — truly normal —  I’d seen since March. It was wonderful.

Florida’s freedom isn’t some new and dangerous experiment, by the way — the Sunshine State has been open for nearly three months. Yet in New York this past weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered indoor dining shut down again.

Since COVID began in earnest in late March, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to 23 states and see all kinds of behaviors and impacts. I’ve been to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Indiana. I’ve traveled to California, Louisiana, Minnesota, and South Dakota. I’ve visited Michigan, Kentucky, Nebraska and Wisconsin. I’ve slept in Missouri, Wyoming, Maryland, and Florida. I’ve taken a look at Virginia, Illinois, Nevada, and Ohio, and I’ve swung through Idaho, Utah, and Kansas.

Most of the people I’ve spoken to have shared a general impression that the whole country was acting the same as they were, and subject to the same rules. The funny thing is in reality, I didn’t even have to travel from Washington, D.C. to Hillsdale, Michigan to remember what sitting at a bar felt like, when just a four-mile walk from my house to Maryland would have scratched that itch.

Just now, blocks away on Capitol Hill’s Lincoln Park, children as young as two are wearing masks while they walk with their parents. Meanwhile across the river in northern Virginia, few if any parents make their young children do the same.

Virginia’s Democrat governor, however, is not in the national media’s cross-hairs for this local break with New York’s COVID culture. Nor is Maryland’s anti-Trump Republican governor. Nor was New Orleans’s mayor, whose French Quarter raged until dawn the October Friday she surprised bar owners with a sudden end to the lockdown.

Why? Because as with global warming science, COVID science has become a political weapon for the left. While their allies escape judgment no matter their sins, political opponents from President Donald Trump to Dr. Scott Atlas, and governors from Florida’s Ron DeSantis to Texas’s Gov. Greg Abbott to South Dakota’s Kristi Noem, are the targets of vicious media attacks on themselves, their states, and their families. Just Friday, a New York Times psychiatrist demanded that doctors who question masks efficacy lose their licenses.

In America today, left-wing politicians obsessed with control are crushing the lives and dreams of their citizens while in the same country just across state lines, young and old celebrate Christmas like we used to without any notable difference in risk and impact. How long can this continue before we all figure it out?

Early in the pandemic, some reports indicated that COVID-19 might have been an intentional weapon against us. Since then, we’ve learned this is very unlikely, although this hasn’t stopped it from being used as a weapon against us: Not by the Chinese, but by our own elites.

Christopher Bedford is a senior editor at The Federalist, the vice chairman of Young Americans for Freedom, a board member at the National Journalism Center, and the author of The Art of the Donald. Follow him on Twitter.

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