Political pundits, including The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro and podcast host Buck Sexton, are speculating as to why some media outlets seemingly halted their coverage of Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as COVID-19 cases in the state continue to decline.
For the fifth consecutive week, COVID-19 cases have steadily declined in the Sunshine State. The New York Times reported Friday that Florida has seen a nearly 53% drop in total COVID-19 cases over the past 14 days. The COVID-19 hospitalization rate in Florida has also declined by 39%, averaging just 6,768 cases a day, the lowest since July. As of Friday, Florida’s death rate clocked in at 1.27 deaths per 100,000 people, with an average of 272 deaths per day.
Shapiro tweeted a series of COVID-19 reproduction data graphs, questioning the media’s coverage of states such as Florida and Texas.
I’ve noticed the media have stopped covering numbers in places like FL, GA, TX and TN. I wonder why. pic.twitter.com/vyUoNRx1BO
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) September 30, 2021
Sexton also weighed in on the media’s apparent lack of coverage in his podcast episode Thursday.
“Why is it that you are not hearing about the Florida COVID caseload so much anymore?” he asked. “We were here talking to you about it in July because the media was convinced Ron DeSantis … ‘doesn’t care about old people or children dying of COVID’ – [saying] horrible things.”
Sexton further noted the roughly 53% decline in COVID-19 cases in Florida over the past 14 days and an anti-DeSantis ad that sparked mockery on Twitter from the right. Later Thursday, he took to Twitter to argue that the media’s coverage of Florida is dwindling amid the drop in cases. (RELATED: Political Commentators Mock Purge-Themed ‘Remove Ron’ DeSantis Ad”)
Such a mystery pic.twitter.com/Alqd17c4DF
— Buck Sexton (@BuckSexton) September 30, 2021
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, COVID-19 hospitalization rates increased in states such as Maine, with a rate of 18 per 100,000 people, and Pennsylvania, which saw a 19% increase to 25 per 100,000 people. North Dakota, Montana and Vermont also recorded increases in hospitalization rates.
National Review senior political correspondent Jim Geraghty tweeted about the data in Becker’s Hospital Review, to which Shapiro replied, “Dammit Ron DeSantis.”
States with the biggest increases in COVID-19 hospitalization over the past two weeks:
Maine: 22 percent
Pennsylvania: 19 percent
North Dakota: 18 percent
Montana: 17 percent
Vermont: 17 percenthttps://t.co/5LSCMqHWz4
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) October 1, 2021
Dammit Ron DeSantis https://t.co/Nc4VAs5L9Q
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) October 1, 2021
The New York Times published an opinion piece on DeSantis Sept. 24, in which the author, Republican strategist Liz Mair, cited “the devastating summer 2021 surge in Covid cases,” without noting the recent drop in cases and hospitalizations. NBC News published an article on DeSantis’ pick for surgeon general of Florida Sept. 22, noting Florida’s COVID-19 death rate per 100,000 residents, but not the recent decline in cases.
CBS published an article Sept. 23, which did note the state’s declining case numbers in the fourteenth paragraph of the story. ABC News covered DeSantis’ COVID-19 response Sept. 13, publishing a story on the $5,000 fines levied on local governments that require their employees to get vaccinated, and the state surpassing 50,000 COVID deaths on Sept. 16.