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Florida’s successful response to COVID-19, based on the DATA

This review of the success of Florida’s government, led by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, in containing the Wuhan flu epidemic while not shutting down his state unnecessarily, can be summed up with this one quote from the article:

So how did DeSantis go about responding to the epidemic? It began with the data.

At the outset, DeSantis looked at South Korea’s experience, Then there was Italy: “I think the median age of fatality was something like 82 in some of those areas in Northern Italy … That really helped inform the strategy to focus most of our efforts on the at-risk groups.”

The DeSantis team also didn’t put much stock in dire projections. Instead, “we started really focusing on just what we saw.” [emphasis mine]

What the DeSantis team did was focus on protecting the elderly population, as shown by the data, while allowing the rest of the younger population to pretty much go about their business.

At the same time, Florida was giving its counties latitude in how they reacted to the crisis. “I said from the beginning,” DeSantis explains, “we’re a big, diverse state. Even at this point, 60 percent of our cases have come from just three counties.”

DeSantis issued his own statewide order, but he argues that it was more flexible and less prescriptive than those of other states. “We basically had businesses operating. We had the day cares open, we had recreation open, and my order never actually closed any businesses. We allowed them to operate within the context of just limiting contact between people outside the household.” [emphasis mine]

If only more governors had taken this common sense, rational approach, based on the available data, not on models that were nothing more than panicked opinions of doom. Had more done this, there would have been less panic, fewer businesses nationwide destroyed, fewer old people in nursing homes dead in New York, Michigan, and other Democratically-controlled states (where their idiotic governors forced infected patients into nursing homes), and millions still employed in viable prosperous businesses.

Instead we are now faced with a possible depression, imposed on us by incompetent governors nationwide.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • commodude

    Conservatism (NOT republican, they aren’t even kissing cousins) dictates limited actions based on data.

    Liberalism relies on emotional reactions outside the realm of logic. If it FEELS good, it must be right. Once sheep are scared (thank you MSM) they stay that way.

    There is no way most governors are going to rely on logic, they got to their positions by pandering to the lowest common denominator.

  • Cotour

    How government has as usual failed in communicating.

    This morning in NYC after it rained the other day, it is chilly, overcast and there is a good breeze blowing. And I am witness to people both riding bicycles and people just walking by themselves and well away from others wearing all configuration of masks, eye protection, head coverings etc.

    Ridiculous IMO at this point in this contagion event.

    The first thing a rational and competent government must do is clearly communicate what it knows about any subject in focus at the particular moment in time that concerns the public and inform them as to the best measures to be taken. And if we were to grade the governments, national, state and local they have failed miserably.

    There is IMO no reason for people if they are not too closely associated with others on the street and / or in an enclosed area to be “Protecting” themselves in such a manner specifically in the out of doors at this point in the evolution of this virus event. NONE.

    People default choose the fear of ignorance because they are not being informed by their news media about what is true and reasonable and that information should be communicated by those who supposedly know something about this situation, their governments who supposedly have access to the best science on the subject.

    And why is that?

    Because no cookie cutter politician is willing to risk being even a tiny bit wrong on any subject at hand that concerns them and their being reelected. One model driven by the political consultants among us might indicate that they all must assume that the public is dumb and play to that lowest common denominator. But I would rather be properly informed to make my own determinations.

    And which politician (who really is not a politician) has been the most transparent and has risked the most? Trump to be honest.

    And because Trump is transparent and risks in these political arenas he has the most to lose, and the most to gain.

    In the end you must educate yourself, and anyone who looks to government to “save” them or provide the information that they need to live their every day lives is truly an ignorant drone. I reject in the strongest terms that model and that condition of existence. But fear is a powerful tool and it is used to its best advantages by those in the political realm who for the most part want and need their constituents to be only partially informed and by definition ignorant.

  • The data show that Florida is at about 27/50 in terms of deaths per million. Not bad but not overwhelming success either. Their daily cases and deaths graphs show that they are not bringing down their cases / deaths at all unlike many other states.

  • Clarification: Florida’s new cases have come down somewhat from their peak but in both daily cases and deaths it seems to be in a steady state. This is a recurring pattern for those places that took / take a softer approach to restrictions.

  • DougSpace: You seem to be completely ignoring the vast benefits that Florida gained by not destroying their economy. All that seems to matter is Wuhan flu cases.

    When taken as a whole, Florida has come out well ahead of many other states with better coronavirus statistics that also shut down their economy.

  • Andrew_W

    Florida seems to be on a similar course to Sweden, but:
    Google records suggest trips to shops and cafes by residents of the Stockholm area are down 20%-40%, while passenger numbers on public transport have fallen by 30%-40%.
    . . .
    The European commission has said it expects Sweden’s gross domestic product to contract by more than 6% this year, on a par with much of the continent, while the country’s central bank has estimated an even sharper fall of 7%-10%, with unemployment forecast to rise to as much as 10.4%.

    Quite possibly in 6 months economies that were successful in getting infection rates down to very low levels through lock-downs could be back to near normal, while those that have not gotten infection rates down will still have their hospitality and tourism industries suffering through people voluntarily avoiding those businesses.

  • wodun

    What I dislike is the lack of information given to the public. In Washington, it took forever for the state to post how many people were tested and only in the last week or so, post how many people are hospitalized. The state doesn’t provide any information about where people are getting sick, like specific work sites or nursing homes. Combining the lack of information from the state with the seesaw reporting from the scientific community, it is incredibly hard for the public to make good decisions.

  • Edward

    DougSpace wrote: “The data show that Florida is at about 27/50 in terms of deaths per million. Not bad but not overwhelming success either.

    Considering that Florida is where many retired people go, it seems to me that 27th is pretty good. The large population of elderly is why there were wide predictions of disaster for Florida as opposed for South Dakota, which also didn’t participate in the Great Oppression.

    In related news, the prolonged Great Oppression turned out to be a “mass casualty incident” with “exponentially growing health consequences.”

    “We are alarmed at what appears to be the lack of consideration for the future health of our patients,” the doctors say in their letter. “The downstream health effects … are being massively under-estimated and under-reported. This is an order of magnitude error.”

    The prolonged Great Oppression was unnecessary.

    “The very initial argument … which sounded reasonable three months ago, is that in order to limit the overwhelmed patient flux into hospitals that would prevent adequate care, we needed to spread out the infections and thus the deaths in specific locales that could become hotspots, particularly New York City… It was a valid argument at the beginning based on the models that were given,” McDonald said. “What we’ve seen now over the last three months is that no city — none, zero — outside of New York has even been significantly stressed.”

    Who are the selfish ones, those who want to save a single life or those who want to save everyone else?

    [Dr. Simone] Gold also said the effects of the shutdown are more serious for the vast majority of people than the potential virus spread if it is quickly lifted.

    Florida seems to have used its resources wisely, putting them into protecting the elderly, especially those in nursing homes.

    “When you look at the data of the deaths and the critically ill, they are patients who were very sick to begin with,” she [Gold] said, “There’s always exceptions. … But when you look at the pure numbers, it’s overwhelmingly patients who are in nursing homes and patients with serious underlying conditions. Meaning, that that’s where our resources should be spent. I think it’s terribly unethical… part of the reason why we let [the virus] fly through the nursing homes is because we’re diverting resources across society at large. We have limited resources we should put them where it’s killed people.”

  • Max

    So what should we do about the nursing homes?
    Let’s reward them for all their fine work and throw money at them…
    After all with the 6% drop in people not trusting nursing homes, they desperately need the money for all the facemasks they are not wearing.
    It’s gotten so bad that the nursing homes have felt it necessary to steal the stimulus checks from their clientele.
    I wonder if the nursing home lobby will suddenly be awash with cash for all the congressman in the upcoming election…
    First they abort the babies, then euthanize the elderly and are well compensated. What is next, who is next?

  • LocalFluff

    Sweden’s economy is completely dependent on the world around us! We have similar population and GDP as the state of Georgia. Imagine the state of Georgia going it alone while all the rest of the US locked down.

    At least some small entrepreneurs running a café or something have crash landed a bit more smoothly here now. But the Swedish export industry is already dead. All the high paying jobs are gone. No students will ever get any jobs. Such things are not up to Swedes to decide.

    The US is the only country in the world that could retain a civilization on its own. All other countries would go North Korea Juche without trade.

  • Andrew_W

    But the Swedish export industry is already dead.

    Maybe everyone’s worried your exports will give them covid?

    Daily goods trade data between 1 February and 29 April gives an updated glance at New Zealand’s trade with the world since the COVID-19 outbreak, Stats NZ said today.

    For the week ended 29 April 2020 compared with the equivalent week in 2019:

    total exports to all countries were up 3.3 percent ($38 million), from $1.14 billion to $1.18 billion
    total imports from all countries were down 28 percent ($331 million), from $1.17 billion to $834 million
    exports to China were up 20 percent ($56 million), from $277 million to $333 million
    imports from China were up 4.5 percent ($10 million), from $222 million to $232 million.

  • David K

    We are probably in a depression already, but I suspect that it will be much more like the depression of 1920, which was over in 2 years and gave us the roaring 20s, as opposed to the Great Depression which dragged on due to stupid policies like price controls and gold confiscation.

  • LocalFluff

    “Maybe everyone’s worried your exports will give them covid?”

    Perhaps. They are madmen, who can imagine what they imagine themselves? Sweden has the highest recorded rate of population immunity (that I know of) and thus are the safest travelers to invite (for all hypochondriacs who are irrationally afraid of getting a cold).

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