DeSantis Block On COVID-19 Reporting, Real Time Hospital Information Is A Self-Inflicted Wound.
BY: EDITORIAL BOARD | BocaNewsNow.com
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2021 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis never misses an opportunity to bungle the message. Even when he’s right, DeSantis constantly impales himself with a sword seemingly engraved with the Fox News logo. He buries legitimate information under so much bluster that he destroys his own credibility.
Gov. DeSantis’ decision to end the state’s daily COVID-19 reporting from the Florida Department of Health is the latest example. We don’t disagree that a constant focus on numbers is distracting from the big picture. But blocking access to a daily look at deaths and infections — which by all indications are dropping — only makes intelligent people question whether the numbers are as good as he says they are. Without facts to back up the claim, there’s no way to know if he’s being truthful. If COVID is truly dissipating into “no big deal” status in Florida, wouldn’t the Governor want to promote that with real numbers that everyone can see? Anyone with communications expertise would advise the Governor that he does better when Floridians have evidence to support what he’s saying. Otherwise, he’s just providing ammunition to those who think he’s more of a future infomercial pitchman than a political leader.
DeSantis also just blocked Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration from releasing realtime hospital reports on ICU and general capacity. It’s another ill-conceived move. The constantly updated reports didn’t only show the true COVID hospital situation in Florida, they provided a huge public service. If someone having heart palpitations needed hospital care, a quick look at the online data could reveal that the hospital a mile away is at ICU capacity, but a hospital 2 miles away is not. That’s the sort of data that DeSantis should be promoting — and could use in messaging for a future Presidential run. To be able to say, “this is how we do it in Florida — we’re a model of medical transparency ” could have mass appeal. But saying, “I ordered that information spigot turned off” does not.
For a smart guy, DeSantis seems to make some illogical messaging mistakes. Maybe he’s getting bad advice. Why block data if it helps you make your point? Why block Floridians from access to real-time hospital information? Separately, but similarly, why block the cruise industry from making sure only healthy people are boarding vessels? If people get sick on board, they’re almost assuredly going to end up in a Florida hospital — that only makes the Governor look bad.
Unless, of course, he’s hiding the numbers.
Governor, if Florida really is in great shape, you should be promoting that daily with numbers to support the claim. Blocking access to data only undermines your messaging, and is antithetical to Florida’s “Sunshine” — a place where light shines on information. Here’s our messaging: Stop impaling yourself. Your data blockage is a self inflicted wound that only sunshine can disinfect.
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