A recent article in Britain’s Daily Mail underscores the failure of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s economically devastating lockdowns as a strategy for combating COVID-19:
Over the course of the last year, California Gov Gavin Newsom has ordered businesses such as bars and indoor dining in restaurants to be shut down due to a rising number of cases and hospitalizations, and has imposed mask mandates.
The state’s schools have also been largely remote since March and most residents are under lockdown orders.
By comparison, Florida Gov Ron DeSantis has issued very few closures, lifting restrictions bars, restaurants and virtually every other business in September.
DeSantis has refused to shut down schools statewide and has said a mask mandate is ‘off the table.’ Two months ago, he even criticized states like California with harsher restrictions and said he trusted his residents to ‘use common sense’.
‘How has that worked out in the states that have done it?… What about all these states where you have an explosion in cases?’ DeSantis told reporters.
‘At some point, does the observed experience matter? I’m opposed to mandates. Period. I don’t think they work.’
Despite these different approaches, both states ended up with the same outcome. A DailyMail.com analysis shows that, over the course of one year, both state have near-identical rates of cases, deaths and hospitalizations.
When looking at the raw numbers, California has the edge.
The Golden State has 3,039,044 total cases and 35,004 total deaths – both figures are the highest in the nation.
By comparison, Florida is reporting 1,613,884 total infections and 24,739 fatalities.
However, population size must be taken into consideration. California has about 40 million residents and Florida has about 22 million.
When adjusted for this metric, the edge shifts to Florida, but just slightly.
Florida has about 5,043 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents while California has about 4,595 per 100,000, according to The Tampa Bay Times and a DailyMail.com analysis.
According to The COVID Tracking Project, California and Florida are both reporting an average of between 500 cases and 1,000 cases per million people, and each are seeing a decline in the latter part of January.
For deaths, California is seeing an average of about 10 deaths per million people while Florida (right) is experiencing an average of six deaths per million people, The Tracking Project found.
However, both states are following a similar curve with a spike in cases around January 1 and infections starting to tail off and deaths both increasing.
How about when adjusted for the last 90 days?
The Times notes that COVID cases in the last 90 days when adjusted for population is higher – but not by much- in Florida than in California at 1,903 per 100,000 compared to 1,629 per 100,000, near identical.
Deaths tells a similar story. Over the last 90 days, Florida has recorded 33 deaths per 100,000 in comparison with 15 deaths per 100,000. Once more their curves appear similar with fatalities spiking around mid-January.
How do the states compare when it comes to COVID-19 hospitalizations?
The COVID Tracking Project, which has been recording hospitalizations in every state, does not have a figure for all hospitalizations ever reported in California while, in Florida, this data was not made publicly available until July.
At its peak on January 12, California reported a single-day total of 22,665 people hospitalized due to the virus while Florida reported 7,762 people on January 14.
When adjusted for 100,000, California still has a higher hospitalization rate.
California has a rate of about 56 hospitalizations per 100,000 while Florida has about 35 per 100,000.
However, The Tampa Bay Times, notes that Florida’s rate has been historically higher until recently.
For example, in late July, Florida was reporting about 44 hospitalizations per 100,000 while California has about 22 per 100,000.
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Nearly a year into the pandemic and Newsom’s subsequent serial lockdowns and revolving “re-opening” criteria, it is vital that we ask whether or not his approach worked, or was worth the resulting havoc wreaked on the economy, jobs and municipal finances. Anaheim is a case in point: did the closure of the Disneyland Resort slow the spread of COVID? One would be hard-pressed to make that case, especially when Disney parks have largely been open since last summer, with no evidence of having contributed to the spread of the virus. What it has achieved it the devastation of Anaheim’s local economy and city finances.
At this point, it is fair to conclude that Newsom’s policies have failed to contain the spread of COVID-19, but have succeeded in destroying jobs, businesses – not to mention the dislocation and harm inflicted by unnecessary school closures.