Due to concerns surrounding recent UK COVID mutations in the United States, the Biden administration is considering whether or not to impose domestic travel restrictions on states where the highly contagious variant are surging. These states include Florida.
“There are active conversations about what could help mitigate spread here, but we have to follow the data and what’s going to work. We did this with South Africa, we did this with Brazil, because we got clear guidance,” one White House official was quoted in the Miami Herald. “But we’re having conversations about anything that would help mitigate spread.”
The response of Florida governor Ron Desantis (R), was to have a meltdown.
As per the Orlando Sentinel, the governor “slammed” the possibility, calling it, “a political attack.”
“We will oppose it 100 percent,” DeSantis as quoted as saying. “It would not be based in science. It would purely be a political attack against the people of Florida. And it’s unclear why they would even try talking about that.”
As of Wednesday, Florida had 343 confirmed cases of the highly contagious UK variant as of Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is the most in the nation (roughly 1/3 of all the known cases in the United States).
The UK variant of COVID spreads between 35% and 45% more easily than other variants (in Florida it’s spreading even faster – 38% to 49%) and is doubling in cases every 10 days. A new study found that the risk of dying from this variant is about 35% higher than from other variants.
Besides suggesting that a potential travel ban to Florida would be politically based, governor DeSantis also somehow decided to compare it to undocumented immigrants entering the country.
““If you think about it, restricting the right of Americans to travel freely throughout our country while allowing illegal aliens to pour across the southern border unmolested, would be a ridiculous, but very damaging farce,” he said.
“No decisions have been made, but we certainly are having conversations across government,” the White House official said. The unnamed official also referred to current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that encouraged Americans to stay home and only travel for essential reasons.
“This is a war and we’re at battle with the virus. War is messy and unpredictable, and all options are on the table,” the official said.
Unfortunately, I think governor DeSantis is fighting a different war.
UK variant set aside, Florida currently has the third-highest number of confirmed cases of COVID in the country, and the fourth-highest number of deaths from the virus.
Feature Photo: Tony Webster / Wikimedia