Florida COVID-19 reality check
Bottom Line: The news cycle continues to feed on itself as COVID-19 cases continue to mount. But rather than hearing about benchmarks which hold little meaning to any of us or focusing on the latest high-profile cases in our state a la Senator Rick Scott or Congressman-Elect Carlos Gimenez, how about a little pragmatism? But first here are a few questions...
Based on the daily coverage of coronavirus cases in Florida where do you think our state ranks relative to the rest of the country in cases to date?
- A) Among the highest
- B) Among the lowest
- C) About average
If you answered C, you’re correct. Florida ranks 23rd in COVID-19 cases adjusted for population during the pandemic. Next up...
In terms of public policy decisions regarding openings, closings and related mandates do you think Florida ranks...
- A) Among the most restrictive
- B) Among the least restrictive
- C) About average
If you answered B, you’re correct. Florida’s public policy has averaged being the 11th least restrictive during the pandemic. First, this info addresses reality rather than sheer numbers. Often news reporting focuses on seemingly large numbers of cases without context. Florida’s numbers, even though they are about average nationally, sound bigger than most because we are bigger than most, as Florida’s the 3rd most populous state. Second, Florida’s public policy is less restrictive than most though we’re not even in the top ten of states with the least restrictive policies. This likewise provides facts to noise in news reporting which often is critical of Governor DeSantis not being more restrictive. In context, Florida has seemingly struck a balance in public policy with moderate restrictions but only average cases. This also points to another dynamic in play with us. We’ve generally been responsible given the freedoms we’ve been allowed, more so than most other states.
What this has brought about is an economy where Florida’s unemployment rate, at 6.5%, is lower than the national average of 6.9% and vastly lower than California’s at 9.3%. Florida’s economy was expected to be one of the three worst nationally during the pandemic due to our reliance on entertainment and tourism. Instead, we’re above average. This reflects the importance of pragmatism in public policy and illustrates how well Florida has struck a balance during a time of a national crisis amid a worldwide pandemic. That’s Florida’s reality check.
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