The state of Florida has faced intense scrutiny over a rising number of coronavirus cases, including attacks from Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), even though New York’s handling of the pandemic has resulted in seven times more deaths and devastation of nursing home residents.
In the past few weeks, Cuomo has made several media appearances in a sort of victory lap, criticizing his political rivals like Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and President Donald Trump for their approaches to the outbreak.
“I say to them all look at the numbers,” Cuomo told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota last month. “You played politics with this virus, and you lost. You told the people of this state, you told the people of this country, the White House, ‘Don’t worry about it. Go about your business. This is all Democratic hyperbole.’”
Cuomo lashed out at Trump, an ally of the Florida governor, during his press conference Monday, stating that “Trump’s COVID scandal makes what Nixon did at Watergate look innocent.”
“Nobody died in the Watergate scandal. Thousands of people are going to die in this COVID scandal and that is all the difference in the world,” he continued.
“You look at the facts, the facts clearly demonstrate Trump was wrong from day one and New Yorkers have been right from day one. There’s no argument. There’s nothing to tweet about. The facts are in. The numbers are in,” Cuomo declared.
“Look at the number of bodies. Look at the infection rate. New York’s numbers have declined while the nation is going up,” he added.
Florida’s record number of new #COVID cases is alarming, but be careful when comparing it to New York in April.
FL reported 143,000 tests today.
So 15,300 cases is about 11% positivity
At the peak in NY, testing was scarce and the positivity rate was often above 40%
— Adam Kuperstein (@Adam4NY) July 12, 2020
In March, the Cuomo administration issued guidance requiring nursing homes to take coronavirus patients who were discharged from the hospital, which more than likely worsened the nursing home fatalities. It stated “[nursing homes] are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or readmission.”
Even the New York Times called the nursing home death toll “tragic”:
The death toll inside New York’s nursing homes is perhaps one of the most tragic facets of the coronavirus pandemic: More than 6,400 residents have died in the state’s nursing homes and long-term care facilities, representing more than one-tenth of the reported deaths in such facilities across the country.
DeSantis’s administration, on the other hand, rushed to protect the most vulnerable, essentially locking down nursing homes across the state. As it stands, the total number of coronavirus-deaths from nursing homes in New York State alone trumps the total number of fatalities across the entire state of Florida — nursing homes and all.
Florida had reported 4,409 resident deaths since March 1, adding 132 deaths on Tuesday. While that remains the “biggest single-day spike Florida has seen since the beginning of the pandemic … that doesn’t mean all of these people died in the past 24 hours,” as WESH reported.
Overall, Florida has reported 291,629 cases (adding 9,194 on Tuesday), representing 1.4 percent of the state’s population of over 21 million. While cases have increased significantly in recent weeks — the state reported an 11 percent positivity rate on Tuesday alone — the fatality rate has not spiked in the same manner.
Deaths account for 1.5 percent of confirmed cases in the state. Yet, Florida has been labeled a coronavirus hotspot, with political pundits, establishment media outlets, and Democrat governors battering DeSantis over his refusal to reverse the reopening process and issue far-reaching restrictions on industries and individuals.
New York has a comparable population to Florida’s, over 19 million, and has reported far more cases — over 406,000. New York State has also reported over seven times more coronavirus-related fatalities than Florida, reporting 32,075 as of Tuesday afternoon, per the New York Times’ tally.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) breaks down the statistics even further.
According to the CDC’s data, Florida has 1,249.4 cases per 100,000 and 19.9 deaths per 100,000. New York’s numbers are higher on both fronts, reporting 1,639.1 cases per 100k and 78.5 deaths by the same measure.
Overall, the Empire State has experienced seven times more fatalities than Florida, which has both a larger and older population. Over 6,500 of the fatalities in New York stem from nursing homes alone.
While it is true that New York’s positivity rate has declined significantly, as it stood on Tuesday afternoon, the state accounted for over 12 percent of the country’s 3.3 million coronavirus cases and nearly 24 percent of the country’s 135,402 deaths.