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The Democratic and Republican states are increasingly different in their style of governing. For example, with regard to the economy, tax policies are diametrically opposed. In terms of bureaucracy and the size of the state, Democrats are advocating more regulation and larger states, as opposed to Republicans who are advocating less.
In that sense, New York and Florida are polar opposites. This is particularly the case with Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and his counterpart Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) on the issue of COVID-19 vaccination.
While Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that he will fine hospitals that fail to distribute the vaccine properly, his counterpart DeSantis argued that the government cannot tell health centers how to work because “it would be a disaster.”
Cuomo’s remarks have been widely criticized, including by New York Mayor and fellow Democrat Bill de Blasio, who accused the New York governor of being arrogant for saying he would fine hospitals for errors in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
Cuomo criticized the hospital system throughout New York for offering just 46 percent of its vaccine supply to the general public. As a result, he threatened $100,000 in fines for medical facilities that fail to supply their entire stockpile of coronavirus vaccines by the end of the week, according to NBC.
That was the reason for de Blasio’s criticism. “That’s just arrogance,” the mayor said in an interview with NY1 about the $100,000 fines. “Do you (Cuomo) think our health professionals aren’t interested in vaccinating people? How about trusting the people who have been our heroes?”
“Help (the hospitals), support them, don’t fine them, don’t threaten them, respect them and help them,” Cuomo added.
Cuomo also said that he would impose a million-dollar fine if the hospitals were to vaccinate people who are not at immediately at risk, immediately sparking criticism. For example, a column appeared in Reason explaining how “Andrew Cuomo’s vaccine distribution rules are a threat to public health.”
Billy Binion’s column argues that the governor’s instructions are a contradiction between vaccinating quickly and not vaccinating citizens who are not over 65, with the result being that many seniors will not be eligible for vaccination until the state passes “Phase Three” of its vaccination plan. So preventing healthcare facilities from vaccinating young people or adults has a direct correlation to the slowness of the vaccination process.
According to Reuters, of the first 15 million doses distributed in the country, more than two-thirds have not been used.
DeSantis: a different approach than Cuomo’s
Florida also faces the problem of slower implementation of vaccines, as does New York, as do other states in the country such as California. But the solution for Governor DeSantis is very different from Andrew Cuomo’s threatening fines.
The Florida governor’s plan is to encourage “healthy competition” among hospitals: whoever vaccinates more, and is better organized will receive more doses, in DeSantis’ words.
At the same time, DeSantis announced a plan of four new actions to try to improve vaccination logistics in the state.
The first item is to “expand vaccine access with additional state-supported sites”; the second is to “deploy vaccine to underserved communities”; the third is to “bolster vaccination efforts with additional personnel” – DeSantis directed Florida’s Division of Emergency Management to immediately hire 1,000 nurses to support vaccination efforts – and the fourth item is to prioritize residents in care homes.
The vaccination process in Florida has not been fast at all; the state has dispensed less than a quarter of the 1.14 million doses it has received, earning DeSantis strong criticism, especially from the more Democratic Party-friendly crowd.
For example, during a press conference, a CNN journalist and DeSantis had a heated exchange over the vaccines’ distribution. The network’s correspondent wanted to lecture the governor and was interrupted by him asking her to let him answer her own question. The reporter ended up questioning the governor on why the vaccination process was so slow and why the state was not doing more to improve it.
DeSantis was clear, his office was not issuing orders to hospitals because “That would be a total disaster. These people are much more competent at providing healthcare services than a state government could be.” A diametrically opposed approach to that of Cuomo.
Interestingly, De Santis has been heavily criticized for his handling of the pandemic, even more so than Cuomo, who even received an Emmy award for his “masterful” coronavirus briefings, even though New York has been one of the states most impacted by the health and economic crisis in this pandemic.
The numbers don’t reflect badly on DeSantis. Florida ranks 22nd among the states with the highest death rates per million.
If you compare the two states, both with similar populations, the difference in deaths from the virus is stark: in New York, there are, so far, 38,315 confirmed deaths. Florida, on the other hand, has 22,187. And that’s despite the fact that Florida has the second oldest population and that, economically speaking it has not suffered as much as the state of New York.
In the end, these two forms of governance result in very different outcomes.
Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.