I have written the Landmark several times in the past to recognize and credit the quality of its writing — bringing interest and exposition to subjects that are historical, current, and important to our communities. …
So it is with dismay that it now appears that the Landmark is engaging that skilled storytelling talent within the paragraphs of its (08-11-2021) “Landmark View” editorial column, succumbing to the current media narrative with these words: “Florida, where its governor seems intent on sending people to their deaths to satisfy his political principles.”
We now know that many variables animate the ebb and flow of COVID-19 infections and deaths. Population density, age, weakened immune systems, obesity, personal behavior, lockdowns, mask wearing and many more known or currently unknown factors could all be responsible causing the tragedies that have affected many.
However, injecting a biased political attribution like the one editorialized just doesn’t agree with the record of total deaths per 100,000 people as presented on the CDC’s website. From the period between Jan. 21, 2020, through noon on August 13, 2021, Florida has recorded 188 deaths per 100,000 population and Illinois is at 205 which are certainly comparable. Illinois has about the 16th highest death rate whereas Florida is lower at around number 25, again according to the CDC.
Although neither record is something to be proud of, they are similar. So why criticize Florida’s governor and not ours? That’s the political storytelling in your editorial. …
Illinois residents have an average age of 38.6, Florida is older at 42.4 according to statista.com. Age is an almost universally agreed upon contributor to the probability of death from the virus. A bit cloudier comparison: In Illinois we had a deep lockdown which gravely damaged our economy, Florida didn’t “close down” to anywhere near the same degree which had far less economic impact and has oddly experienced a smaller percentage of deaths?
But if the last year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that we “may” believe the science and myth that we are either exposed or pre-disposed to, but at least the numbers presented by the CDC should be recognized without a blatant political bias … well maybe?
Jim Skvaril, Riverside
Editor’s note: The Landmark has treated the COVID-19 pandemic for what it is — a national and international public health crisis, the response to which should be driven by science.
The development of vaccines to prevent COVID-19 are a miracle of science, and the Landmark pointing out that the misinformation being spread about them and their effectiveness by politicians in some parts of this nation, which is resulting in the needless illnesses and deaths of the citizens they represent, is not “political bias.” It is exactly the opposite. It is telling the truth.
The letter writer cites data from the CDC from Jan. 21, 2020 to Aug. 13, 2021 to make his argument that places like Florida and Illinois are faring about the same when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.
Of course, it would be a year, starting from Jan. 21, 2020, before COVID-19 vaccines would become available to the public anywhere. Now that a vaccine has been available for months, one would think the spread of COVID-19 would have been virtually eliminated.
It has not because of people like Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who have cynically and maliciously downplayed both the disease and the effectiveness of vaccines. In mid-July, DeSantis made news by promoting — on his campaign website — the sale of merchandise ridiculing mask-wearing and items bearing the phrase, “Don’t Fauci My Florida,” rejecting the medical judgment of the nation’s foremost infectious disease expert.
DeSantis did this as the delta variant was about to explode, and Florida has suffered the consequences of DeSantis’ malicious political ambitions. On July 14, according to the CDC website, the seven-day rolling number of cases in Florida was 5,594. Mind you, on the same date in Illinois, the rolling average number of cases was 596 – about 10 times fewer than Florida.
Also on July 14, the seven-day rolling number of COVID-19 fatalities in Florida was 35, compared to nine in Illinois.
By Aug. 5, about three weeks after DeSantis decided to make light of the continuing danger the disease presented, the rolling number of deaths from COVID-19 in Florida skyrocketed to 114. In Illinois, that number remained at nine.
As of Aug. 15, in response to the havoc wreaked on the state by COVID-19, Florida’s seven-day rolling number of deaths had fallen to 31. Illinois’ rolling number of deaths as of Aug. 15 had increased to 13.
No increase is good news, but it is still not at all “similar” to Florida, where by the way, the seven-day rolling number of total cases stood at 21,664 on Aug. 15, compared to the 2,299 rolling number in Illinois on that date.
“Political storytelling” is actual politicians putting their constituents’ lives in danger by willfully misinforming them, not the Landmark calling it out.