Lincoln Project ad eviscerates DeSantis over Covid

The conservative anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project has eviscerated Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for his handling of Covid-19 in an ad.

A video with the title “pro-life” – a term used to refer to anti-abortion lawmakers and activists – was released by the group on Friday.

The ad focuses on the perils faced by children as the number of hospitalised kids is increasing. Images of an empty school and sounds of students attending class were used with recent headlines from Florida media outlets showing the increasing suffering of families in the Sunshine State.

“Florida leads the nation in kids hospitalized for COVID,” a headline from the Tampa Bay Times states following images of a deserted school bus.

An image of an empty school hallway is followed by the headline: “Central Florida children increasingly being hospitalized for COVID-19; some were eligible for vaccination,” from the Orlando Sentinel.

A vacant classroom is accompanied by The Florida Times-Union headline: “‘Gut-wrenching’: Children making up more of Jacksonville’s surge of COVID hospitalizations.”

An unused gym is shown before the Miami Herald headline: “Florida’s Children’s hospitals see pediatric COVID cases soar amid delta variant surge.”

At the end of the ad, Mr DeSantis can be seen at the Conservative Political Action Conference, saying: “Florida got it right, and the lockdown states got it wrong.”

In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Mr DeSantis said that President Joe Biden has failed to “end Covid” and should look to Florida to see how to handle the pandemic, despite the fact that the state is setting records in terms of cases, deaths, and hospitalisations.

Florida is seeing an average of 227 Covid-19 deaths every day, the highest average in the US and a record for the state. The Washington Post reported that the number of daily deaths has spiked by 613 per cent in the last week, as the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus spreads.

The state reported more than 26,000 new infections on Wednesday and 17,164 people were in hospitals with the virus – a tripling of the hospitalisation rate over the last month, federal data shows.

The state has the second-highest number of people in ICU beds – more than 3,600.

Mr DeSantis told Fox News that Florida has seen “great success” in treating Covid-19 patients using monoclonal antibodies, which is a treatment that is effective and widely available but that few patients are getting, The Post reported.

The governor said the treatment should have been “a bigger part of this whole response throughout the country from the beginning”.

“You know, he said he was going to end Covid. He hasn’t done that,” Mr DeSantis told Fox News. “At the end of the day, he is trying to find a way to distract from the failures of his presidency.”

A spokesperson for the governor said in a statement: “All Americans who could benefit from this treatment should have access to sites like the ones in Florida.”

But Mr DeSantis is also pushing back on pandemic measures such as vaccine and mask mandates, even as one Florida physician described the situation in the state as “a crisis of unprecedented proportions”.

On 23 August, Mr Biden said: “Across the country, virtually all of the Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated. That’s worse in states where vaccination rates are overall low. But even in states where many people are vaccinated, the unvaccinated are still at risk.

“Let me be clear: There are cases where vaccinated people do get Covid-19, but they are far less common than unvaccinated people getting Covid-19. And most importantly, their conditions are far less severe,” he added.

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