Bloomberg columnist declares DeSantis the ‘pandemic winner’ despite being ‘vilified in the media’

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Bloomberg Opinion columnist Joe Nocera declared on Friday that Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is the “pandemic winner.”

“Can anyone doubt it?” Nocera asked. “As the country tries to recover from the pandemic, psychologically as well as economically, Florida is way ahead of just about every other state in the U.S. As of March, its unemployment rate was 4.7%, compared with New York’s 8.5% and California’s 8.3%. The Census Bureau reports that more than 250,000 people moved to Florida last year, second only to Texas. From all indications, the influx has only accelerated in 2021.”

Nocera pointed to DeSantis’s early push to reopen his state which helped Florida businesses, requiring schools to stay open, and his state’s low COVID death rate.

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“DeSantis was vilified in the media, especially when Covid cases spiked last year. (I was among the skeptics after rooting for him earlier.)” Nocera admitted. “Many public health officials predicted that his policies would be disastrous. His critics took to calling him #DeathSantis. But they were wrong.”

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He explained, “For whatever reason, the virus did not flatten Florida the way it did New York, Rhode Island or Arizona. The nation’s third-most populous state ranks 20th in cases per capita and 27th in deaths per capita. Whether DeSantis was adept or merely lucky, the result has been something to brag about. Which, of course, is exactly what he’s been doing.”

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The Bloomberg columnist said DeSantis’s pandemic strategy has “created something akin to a gold rush atmosphere” with people and businesses migrating to the Sunshine State, calling it a “nirvana” for restauranteurs in South Florida and invoking the state’s “sense of optimism, a go-go dynamism.”

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“There is no question that DeSantis is hoping to capitalize on Florida’s pandemic record to make the case that his policies, which were embraced by the right and scorned by the left, actually worked,” Nocera wrote. “He’ll point to the failure of remote learning in Democratic strongholds, the deaths and hospitalizations in states that insisted that people wear masks outdoors and the closings of thousands of small businesses that resulted from long lockdowns. Like Trump, he wears the criticism from the left like a badge of honor.”

He later concluded, “In charting Florida’s pandemic course, DeSantis took an enormous gamble. It’s paid off for his state. And for better or worse, it’s paid off for him as well.”

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