As COVID-19 cases fall throughout the country, many states and cities have been easing or entirely removing vaccine and mask mandates. For example, as of this week in New York City, which had previously implemented some of the strongest public health measures, businesses are no longer required to ask customers for proof of full vaccination or require facial coverings, and masking rules have been lifted in many school. Of course, this doesn’t mean that people can’t wear masks anymore, just that they don’t have to. Obviously, some people continue to do so, for a variety of very good reasons that range from concern over death rates remaining “stubbornly high” to underlying conditions to mere personal preference. After two terrifying years, some people just aren’t ready to give up this protective measure, and if it brings them comfort and doesn’t hurt anyone else, what’s wrong with that? According to the governor of Florida, a lot!
Appearing at a press conference at the University of South Florida on Wednesday, Ron DeSantis scolded a bunch of students behind him for wearing masks. “You don’t have to wear those masks,” he said angrily. “I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”
Many of the kids took the masks off, probably not because they actually felt comfortable doing so but because the most powerful person in the state had just basically told them he’d be pissed if they didn’t. Three kept them on and should probably be given some kind of award for standing up to a jackass. according to The Washington Post, CDC data shows that the county where DeSantis’s Wednesday event took place continues to record “high levels of the coronavirus,” and masks are “recommended indoors.”
DeSantis, of course, has never been very interested in taking extremely easy steps to protect Florida’s residents from COVID-19. Last year, amidst the delta variant surge, the governor issued an executive order banning schools from implementing mask mandates, threatening to withhold funding from school boards that chose to do so. Earlier this year, during the surge of the omicron variant, he said the testing of asymptomatic people—who can still spread the virus!—was “lockdown by stealth† DeSantis has also consistently refused to say if he got a booster shot, a deliberate omission even Donald Trump—yes, that Donald Trump!—has called “gutless.”
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Meet the Republicans who think invading a neighboring country is fine
Report: China asked Russia to hold off on invading Ukraine until the Olympics were over
And Russia apparently said sure, we totally get it, and pushed “go to war with Ukraine” back on its calendar a few days. by the The New York Times†