There’s an old adage that in an election year, everything is about the election. This seems to be true even for the media’s reporting on the coronavirus.
Over the past month, we have seen story after story about how Florida and Arizona are the new hotspots of the coronavirus pandemic. And yet, no attention has been given to Northeastern states that have had far more deaths per 1,000,000 than Florida and Arizona.
Why is this?
I’d contend that it’s because both Florida and Arizona are swing states that will likely determine who the next president of the United States will be. Northeastern states don’t have that kind of outsized influence come election time because they are almost guaranteed to give their electoral college votes to the Democrat nominee.
According to Worldometer, which reports data on the coronavirus compiled from John Hopkins University, 14 states have higher deaths per 1,000,000 than Arizona, and 24 states have more deaths per 1,000,000 than Florida.
Indeed, New Jersey has the highest death rate with 1,774 deaths per 1,000,000. New York is next with 1,672 followed by Connecticut at 1,231 and Massachusetts with 1,216.
Arizona has 355 deaths per 1,000,000 people and Florida has 224.
Isn’t it interesting that the media never talks about New Jersey, Connecticut or Massachusetts, even though these three states have far higher death rates than Arizona or Florida?
In an interview with conservative talk-show host Mark Levin, Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., explained how he has done such a good job minimizing his state’s death count.
“From the beginning… we worked with the nursing homes. Not only did we not have visitation, but we barred hospitals from sending COVID positive nursing home patients back to the nursing homes because that would be a tinder box as we saw in other states where it would spread,” Gov. DeSantis said.
This is the opposite strategy to the approach that the state of New York took in ordering nursing homes to accept COVID positive patients.
Gov. DeSantis also disputed media reports that Florida hospitals are being overwhelmed and overrun, and that their ICU bed capacity is being strained.
“Here in Florida, we have abundant capacity in the hospitals,” Gov. DeSantis said. “We now have some of these treatments that seem to be working whether its convalescent plasma or this drug Remdesivir. You also have things like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supply is really good… We’ve averaged 90,000 tests per day… Part of the reasons we have more cases is because we’re just testing everybody.”
Additionally, though some Florida hospitals are reporting 0% ICU capacity, those hospitals say they can ramp up their capacity if it becomes needed.
Orlando Health Director of Public Affairs Kena Lewis told WKMG News 6, “Across all of our operations, we have nearly 3,300 beds. Nearly 200 of those are ICU beds and we have the capacity to surge up to 500 ICU beds if it becomes necessary.”
AdventHealth, one of the region’s largest healthcare providers, also told WKMG, “AdventHealth’s facilities across Central Florida have sufficient capacity to care for patients, including those with COVID-19. Our hospitals are designed in such a way that spaces are flexible and expandable. We have sufficient supplies of ventilators, monitors and other specialized equipment in order to quickly convert spaces in the hospital to both standard and ICU level rooms.”
The same is the case in Arizona, where hospitals are only at 83% of capacity across the state.
The coronavirus is a serious disease, and it deserves a serious response. Significant health precautions should be taken.
However, it’s vital to dive deep into the actual data prior to believing everything the media reports. It seems many Americans may be aware of this since, according to a recent poll conducted by YouGov, only 42% of Americans trust the media’s handling of the coronavirus.
You can follow this author on Twitter @MettlerZachary
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