Last week, Democrats and their allies went after certainly one of their favourite targets, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). The governor drew hysterical reactions on Wednesday as a result of he urged college students to take off their masks whereas talking on the University of South Florida. “You don’t have to wear those things. They’re not very useful. If you want to keep wearing them, that’s fine, but continued masking is pretty ridiculous,” had been among the many issues he instructed them. As Guy referred to as it in overlaying the response, it was one other so-called ‘controversy,’ utilizing citation marks. Among those that jumped on in attacking DeSantis embrace fact-checkers over his feedback.
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) March 2, 2022
On Friday, Yacob Reyes got here up with a fact-check for PolitiFact, ranking DeSantis’ claims as “False.” He particularly went after remarks from the governor that carrying masks is “COVID theater” and “not doing anything.”
It’s a doozy of a fact-check, and one can see from the beginning that it reveals a vendetta in opposition to the governor:
Throughout the pandemic, DeSantis has taken positions opposite to public well being steering from consultants. In July, he issued an govt order barring colleges from requiring face masks, saying that masks steering from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked a “well-grounded scientific justification.” We rated that declare False.
But the eyebrow-raising scene of a governor scolding college students for carrying masks posed a broader query: Are there nonetheless respectable causes individuals would possibly select to put on face masks in public? We determined to search out out.
It’s value reminding that DeSantis did level out “if you want to keep wearing them, that’s fine,” as he additionally expressed “continued masking is pretty ridiculous.” Some college students saved their masks on, so clearly they didn’t really feel too “bullied” into taking them off, a criticism the left has truly had when going after DeSantis on this occasion.
Reyes’ fact-check, which references a response from DeSantis’ Press Secretary Christina Pushaw, seems to shortly be carrying water for related arguments the Biden administration has been making about masking and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
When we requested DeSantis in regards to the incident, his press secretary, Christina Pushaw, mentioned the governor wished to make sure that individuals had been knowledgeable in regards to the “lack of evidence for masks.”
“Following Florida, the CDC has even stopped recommending mask wearing for most Americans, and even the most liberal states have dropped mask mandates for schools,” Pushaw mentioned. “After two years of mixed messages and social engineering from health authorities and media, the governor wants to make sure everyone is aware of the facts and data.”
Contrary to what Pushaw prompt, the CDC primarily based its choice on its view that the nation is in a “stronger place” within the pandemic due to the widespread availability of testing, vaccines, and different instruments to forestall COVID-19. The relaxed masks suggestions for a big share of the U.S. had been launched in February.
While Reyes could search to be countering Pushaw’s statements, he doesn’t truly find yourself doing so, as even essentially the most liberal states had certainly relaxed masks mandates, having woken as much as the political science on the topic.
Reyes’ fact-check goes on to hone in on who ought to put on a masks, such because the immunocompromised, which turns into all of the extra ineffective as soon as we recall that DeSantis had instructed the scholars they might put on them, along with expressing his frustration about “COVID theater.”
Talk about taking place the rabbit gap. There had been no dialogue in regards to the immunocompromised or claiming that such individuals with vulnerabilities would possibly really feel higher about masking, besides in Reyes’ prolonged fact-check.
While Reyes does briefly point out the CDC’s “relaxed mask recommendations,” he doesn’t point out how the updates have an effect on 70 p.c of the nation at “low” or “medium” threat for COVID. He additionally fails to make the connection that the announcement was made shortly earlier than President Joe Biden’s State of the Union on Tuesday, as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki equally did not make.
Further, Reyes’ personal fact-check is lacking context. The college students had been carrying material masks. While Reyes talked about that respiratory and surgical masks are the best, he made no point out of the fabric masks that the scholars had been carrying.
As Spencer highlighted on the time final December, CNN’s medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, instructed individuals to not put on material masks, particularly with regards to defending one’s self from the extremely transmissible but in addition rather more gentle Omicron variant. Dr. Wen defined “don’t wear a cloth mask — cloth masks are little more than facial decorations — there’s no place for them in light of Omicron.”
The absurdity did not cease with Reyes’ fact-check. He shared it over his social media account, however restricted replies not lengthy after individuals chimed in.
The mark of a fact-checker who’s really assured that the info are on his facet: Turned off replies https://t.co/qRIQaIIC1L
— Christina Pushaw ???? (@ChristinaPushaw) March 5, 2022
Why did you ignore the proof I despatched you? pic.twitter.com/EuI1GlKRqF
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) March 5, 2022
He made the aware choice to disregard me.
I do know for sure that he noticed my response as a result of he shared it with certainly one of his colleagues. pic.twitter.com/kRlUR265ef
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) March 5, 2022
Before he restricted replies, although, Jeremy Redfern, the press secretary for the Florida Department of Health, was capable of remark that he had despatched in additional proof to Reyes. Redfern additionally individually tweeted about it in a prolonged thread detailing that proof.