Compared to the Northeast, it's a very different pandemic down in Florida:

🍽️The restaurants are full
🛍️The stores are hopping
😷Lots of people don't wear masks

Many Floridians are acting as if the pandemic is over, even though it plainly isn't 
Most of @opinion_joe’s friends in New York tend to view Floridians as idiots when it comes to Covid-19.

They're convinced that Governor Ron DeSantis is hiding the true number of fatalities, and that his refusal to impose a mask mandate is irresponsible 
But what you hear from many Floridians — even liberal ones — is a grudging respect.

Whether DeSantis was smart or lucky, they don't care. All they know is that Florida's cases and deaths are below some states that have followed the CDC playbook faithfully 
How do pandemics end?

“Maybe what happens is not that the virus goes away or is rendered impotent by the vaccine but that people simply decide they have to go on with their lives despite the risk,” @opinion_joe says
In contrast to Floridians, Rhode Islanders are still playing by the rules.

Masks are everywhere, yet per capita, Rhode Island had many more deaths than Florida — 248 per 100,000 people versus 157 
Rhode Island’s cumulative death rate is almost the highest in the country. The only states that have done worse are NY, New Jersey and Massachusetts

The morality tale that lives saved are proportional to sacrifices made doesn’t necessarily reflect reality 
At the start of the pandemic, the Rhode Island government closed the parks, playgrounds and beaches.

“Science-based rules are ones that take human needs into account. Stricter rules aren’t always better rules,” says @fayeflam 
There’s still so much that’s not understood about Covid-19:

➡️What role does climate play?
➡️Why did cases fall from mid-January to late February?

It’s all too easy for the media to generate outrage with footage of unmasked people on a Florida beach 
After a year of dealing with the pandemic, people aren’t willing to live differently anymore.

Restaurants are filling up again; some music venues are opening; people are booking air travel in numbers not seen since before the pandemic 
There are lots of reasons for this:

The human species can adapt to almost any circumstance. At some point, people decide that they will carry on with their lives, pandemic or no pandemic 
Plus, the messaging we’ve been getting from the CDC has been so contradictory that many people simply don’t trust the government’s advice anymore.

And therefore, they’re much more willing to just ignore it 
There can be a social ending to pandemics while the biological risk still lurks. People just start to accept a certain risk and go on with their lives.

That even happened during the 14th Century, when the Bubonic plague ravaged Europe 
The Covid-19 pandemic may already have had a social ending in Florida.

Unless the vaccines start to fail in a spectacular way, Rhode Islanders and New Yorkers will probably start to act like Floridians soon 
“At this point, even if there is a fourth or fifth or sixth wave, no governor is going to call for a lockdown,” says @opinion_joe.

The citizens have made their own risk-reward calculation 
For more insights on the pandemic and the return to normal, listen to @fayeflam's podcast, Follow the Science on...

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