Florida has the largest percentage of seniors 65-years-old and older in its population most vulnerable to the Chinese coronavirus among larger states and second nationwide, at 20.5 percent, or 4.3 million. Yet it has a relatively low mortality rate for a large state for the China-originated COVID-19 pandemic, at just 2,660, according to data from the Florida Department of Health and the U.S. Census Bureau.
New York, in contrast, has a smaller percentage of its overall population as seniors at just 16.4 percent, or 3.2 million, yet has the most dead overall in the nation at almost 28,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the vast majority of whom are seniors, according to the New York State Department of Health.
By a factor of more than 10 to 1, Florida protected its seniors and New York failed. The reason?
For starters, while New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a now-rescinded executive order that COVID-19 patients be transferred to nursing homes, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis did the opposite and ordered all nursing homes closed to visitors and that no COVID-19 patients be transferred to a nursing home.
As a result, more than 6,200 seniors have perished in nursing homes in New York, more than any other state, compared to about 1,200 in Florida, a factor of more than 5 to 1.
Another factor is that when federal and state officials told everyone, particularly seniors, to stay home, in Florida they listened. In New York, by contrast, many citizens kept up their normal routines and continued commuting to work. The subways kept running, and many acted like nothing had changed, gathering in parks.
And because New York City is the most densely populated city in the country, with so many literally living on top of one another, it needed the most restrictive measures but ironically had the least.
On March 22, even Cuomo blasted New York City residents, Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, “’There is a density level in New York City that is wholly inappropriate… You would think there was nothing going on in parts of New York City. You would think it was just a bright sunny Saturday. I don’t know what I’m saying that people don’t get. I don’t know what they’re not understanding. This is not life as usual. None of this is life as usual.”
Yet, nothing was done about it. Nobody enforced the quarantine. And now tens of thousands are dead.
Still, Florida is actually a larger state than New York, with 23.3 million and 19.5 million residents, respectively, and has 1 million more seniors than New York, and yet New York has had 10 times as many dead from the fatal virus.
So, while hysterical news media was busy raking Gov. Desantis over the coals in Florida who in hindsight actually did a good job, it was heaping unjustified praise on Gov. Cuomo in New York, who apparently did a terrible job. Guess it’s not about saving lives at all, just helping Democrats win elections that perhaps they deserve to lose.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.
Florida protected its seniors from COVID-19