Florida Man

Wikipedia defines “Florida Man” as an “Internet meme first popularized in 2013, referring to an alleged prevalence of male persons performing irrational or absurd actions in the US state of Florida.”

Governor Ron DeSantis is the embodiment of a Florida Man.

I have previously cited my cousin Mort– a nationally respected cardiologist who has written about the various kinds of “snake oil” routinely touted by  crazy folks or those out to make a buck– in prior posts. (If you are interested in his book on the subject, you can find it here.) He and his wife recently moved to Florida, and he has periodically shared his frustration with the DeSantis administration in op-eds published in the local newspaper.

Mort is especially appalled by DeSantis’ recent all-out attack on vaccines–an attack that depends for its effectiveness on ignorance of–and a broad repudiation of– medical science. As his recent op-ed began,

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has recently embraced COVID-19 vaccine skepticism, and has formed a state-wide group to investigate vaccine “wrongdoing” But in so doing, he is testing the limits of how far political interests can usurp the role of science.

After reviewing for readers the rigorous testing process that all medications , including vaccines, must go through before they are made available to the public, Mort shared the results of multiple peer-reviewed studies of the COVID vaccines. These studies–which involved thousands of individuals–confirmed the efficacy of the vaccines in preventing serious illness and death.

DeSantis–playing to the anti-science, anti-intellectual MAGA base– insists that these results ignore dangerous side-effects.

One of the research studies Mort cited provides a fascinating insight into the incidence of side-effects. It found that. “general adverse systemic reactions were experienced by 35% of placebo recipients after the first dose and 32% after the second. Those receiving the active vaccine experienced initially such symptoms in 46%.”

Placebos, of course, are harmless substances with no therapeutic effect–make-believe medications used by researchers as a control when testing new drugs. And yet, 32% of those receiving what were essentially sugar pills reported adverse side-effects.

What have these studies found to be the actual incidence and severity of side-effects?

Serious allergic reactions to both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines reportedly average between 2 and 10 per million doses. If this happens, healthcare providers can effectively and immediately treat these reactions. More common reports of inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or its coverings (pericarditis) are also rare and usually not severe. Reports of deaths after COVID-19 vaccination are also rare. The FDA requires healthcare providers to report any deaths after COVID-19 vaccination even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. More than 657 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through December 7, 2022. During this time, 17,868 preliminary reports of deaths (0.0027%) among people who had previously received COVID-19 vaccine, a percentage not significantly higher that those receiving placebos.

DeSantis’ call for a grand jury investigation of wrongdoing connected to the vaccines has been roundly debunked. As FactCheck reported,

While announcing a request for a grand jury probe into “crimes and wrongdoing” related to the COVID-19 vaccines, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his panel of contrarian experts repeatedly suggested the shots were too risky. But such claims are unsupported and based on flawed analyses.

The vast majority of scientists, public health officials and other experts have endorsed the vaccines because the original randomized controlled trials and subsequent safety and effectiveness studies have shown the shots provide good protection against severe disease and death, with few safety concerns.

Leading this effort to misrepresent and politicize public health is Joseph Ladapo, DeSantis’ chosen surgeon general, who has promoted disproved treatments such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, and questioned the safety of masking and vaccines. Ladapo has also recommended against vaccinating babies and children below the age of 5 and against vaccinating healthy children between the ages of 5 and 17. As FactCheck has reported, this advice is also at odds with that of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the CDC and numerous medical experts.

This deliberate effort to dissuade Florida residents from getting vaccinated is appalling. To the extent those residents believe DeSantis–and a majority of them did recently vote for him–the state will see many unnecessary deaths. I recently shared statistics showing that Republican deaths from COVID have greatly exceeded Democratic deaths, mainly as a result of lower vaccination levels among Republicans.

Worse still, Florida has a large elderly population, and the elderly are much more likely to die from COVID than younger, healthier individuals.

In his zeal to appeal to the GOP’S lowest common denominator, DeSantis is obviously willing to cause a few hundred extra deaths. He is thus the personification of a “male person performing irrational or absurd actions in the state of Florida.”


  1. We can only hope some entity will soon investigate and prosecute this idiot, and others, for the injuries and deaths they’ve caused by their vaccine “wrongdoing”.

  2. We don’t prosecute people in this country for dishonest speech. Not yet at least. We’re not Europe.

  3. Now that China seems bent on herd immunity as its last salvation, the world may soon see a devastating array of new covid variants. This is NOT over and we should not let our guard down. We need effective scientific responses to this ongoing medical emergency.

  4. The only thing we can hope for is that enough DeSantis supporters will kill themselves so his opponent will win.

  5. I can’t believe we’re still having this same conversation three years later.

    BUT, if he has no morals and he believes it will get him one more vote and he can live with that, what’s to stop him? He is obviously not part of the Christain right or least has never been counseled on what might earn him a place in hell.

  6. This whole debacle conjures up sayings like: “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.” ( Benjamin Franklin) Or, “you can’t fix stupid,” popularized by comedian Ron White. Or perhaps, “stupid is, as stupid does.” (Forrest Gump)

    People are not stupid, but it is their behavior that makes them so. One’s lack of intelligence may be judged by one’s actions. This inalterable truth is epitomized by Mr. DeSantis’ irresponsible actions driven by political ambition. The tragedy is that he is not behaving in this way in a vacuum all by himself in the middle some farm field. By intentionally drawing others into this idiocy, he which is costing (and will cost) people their lives. That is the tragedy.

  7. Since the beginning of annual flu vaccines, there have always been the few who experienced side effects. No consideration has been given to the fact that EVERY MEDICATION, whether prescription or over-the-counter, warns of possible side effects. This is due to the fact that each of us has our personal and genetic makeup which can cause side effects when ingesting chemicals; read the warning labels. Consider the drug addicts who take drugs which cause the side effects they desire; the same can be said of alcohol which is a drug. Some of us are allergic to different foods; peanuts in any of its many forms can actually kill without the chemical benefit of epiPens. Diabetics who require insulin can die without the benefit of that vaccine. These are fact of life; DeSantis is using fear tactics naming Covid-19 vaccines which can be deadly when his lies are believed. We are now seeing measles, mumps and chicken pox beginning to show up in different areas of the country and the fear of reaching epidemic level warnings are the result of those who follow the Covid anti-vaccine warnings by DeSantis and are applying that warning against all vaccines. One thing we have learned since the Trump era began in 2015 is that the number of those trusting snake-oil salesmen in this country is numbered in the the millions and is making victims of all of us.

    As Americans we still have the right to choose; we can opt for scientifically proven vaccines in their many forms or we can inject Clorox and hope for the best.

  8. It is fun to think that the anti-vaxxers will pull a Darwin and in the near future it will be easier to elect rational, thinking, reasonable people but that certainly seems to be a long game. In the meantime the unvaxed will continue to represent a threat to themselves and those around them, vaccinated as well as those few who can’t be vaccinated. Both DeSantis and trump, Rubio etc etc certainly fit the descriptions we have come to think of as “Florida Man”. I say of “Florida Man” its not the heat, its the stupidity……

  9. Those who do not get vaccinated are automatically enrolling themselves in the program, as members of the Control Group. The more Republicans who choose this option, the better off the country will be in the next generation.

  10. The vaccines were all approved under an “emergency use authorization,” so we have all been a part of the widest possible cohort ever studied in modern medicine and the results mirrored the blinded, controlled clinical trials. Thank God! I’m not quite sure what our dear governor wishes to investigate, but I have been wondering if he will investigate Dolly Parton. She did, after all, provide funding to Moderna for their vaccine.

    One other thing that has me puzzled: What should I call our Governor? I used to call him Governor Demented, then I adopted 45’s nickname because it seemed so spot on. I have been calling him Governor DeSanctimonious for a while now. Should I go back?

  11. My sister, and her husband, both have Covid right now in Ft Wayne. They were both vaccinated. My sister had a vaccine injury after receiving one of the booster shots and is now on blood thinners.

    If I’ve had all my vaccinations and can risk vaccine injuries and still get Covid, what’s the point of getting the vaccines?

    There is science, and then there are profiteers. We have too much profiteering in the USA. Anybody faithful to Big Pharma and the federal government in the USA is a fool.

  12. Folks, you are talking about the possible/probable GOP presidential nominee in 2024…No concerns about that? While it doesn’t take much, he is much smarter than The Duck and, in some ways, more ruthless. Plus, he knows how government “works” (aka can be manipulated).

  13. I’m wondering why any decent intelligent person would move to Florida since it’s such a cesspool of ignorance? Indiana is bad enough and I can’t wait to escape this right wing hellhole, sadly the fascist minority of corporate whores and religious zealots have taken over this country’s government thru extreme gerrymandering and pervasive voter suppression and we will never get control of our society as long as the state legislatures and Congress and the SCOTUS are full of right wing domestic terrorists

  14. Calling an investigation isn’t necessarily a bad thing its an investigation of the federal government and possible over reach using emergency powera to push through a vaccine. The problem comes with mandates for those or lose your job, those with health issues that have problems with vaccines. But moreover in looking at people who were healthy beforctge vaccine, externally motivated , got the vaccine and then died or harmed in some way. Its an investigation That will come with legal processes that will be able to get more information and to bring legal accountability to those who committed misconduct,” DeSantis said.
    The roundtable he conducted did have scientsts and doctors concluding there is enough evidence to at least do an investigation.
    Will they find anything thru their legal process. The state did come away with money harmed in the opioid cases.
    It is impossible to know more about the rare cases of VITT, blood clotting,
    As far as miscarriage rates, there dont appear to be any investigations stared for miscarriages and the vaccine. Here are the statistics in regards to those receiving the vaccine. I personally knew two people that miscarried after receiving the vaccine. But gow does that tally knto the populations rotal according to this article?


  15. Even highly intelligent and well educated people may fall victim to a skillful liar. We are all gullible to some extent. The process of science works well to distinguish reality from fantasy, but even it is not infallible. Final thought, it is always easier to see someone else’s “stupidity” than our own.

  16. Why does everyone think being vaccinated against covid was going to keep you from ever getting it? It was made quite well known, the advantage was that your symptoms would not be as severe, and you probably wouldn’t die.
    The anti vaxxers running rampant because the dumbest man in the nation said don’t get the shot (he got it, so he lied about it) and his supporters will follow those words to their death. Well, that’s okay by me, if you want to be that stupid.
    The common sense has gone from everybody , it seems, and who knows where we end up. This country is going backwards, not forward

  17. florida has the highest percentage, i believe of people who retire and relocate. have they become the union of concerned scientists too? spread the word at the local cafe,and social media,and you have the catagory of inept. throw in a few paid politicians,and its all brewed into a rainbow stew of self inflicted any thing goes as long as i win ignorance. then comes the con,er,persons. supported by religion,fact groups, Qs better half.(if there is one) and paid for media thats allowed to bellow into the dark anals of the local wet spot. add some liquor and education that lacked and civil content,and you have a state that should,defect from our union..ill vote for that..

  18. OK, have to admit that wasn’t my final thought.
    Todd, I know several people who are vaccinated and boosted and still got Covid, but none of them were hospitalized or died. Vaccinations help protect against serious illness. This has been exhaustively explained, so you should be aware of it.
    Also, personal experience and anecdotes are far less reliable than properly performed scientific studies. I am reminded of the old joke about the guy who said “All Indians walk single file. At least the one I saw did.”

  19. Paul:
    if you read any euro news content,its usually facts and how people live, we have become the laughing stock of ignorance in the world simply for its news content,paid for and glorifying its own cesspool of thought.id rather be convicted by a court in euro,than any court here in America. from reading news in euro in the decades that its been widly available,the court system in europe sees people as people,humans,not the ware house conglomerants here in America who pay judges/prosecutors who keep private prisons full and a court system that wont help those who could do better out if the system. the status quo is your power to wield,the euros is the peoples, and their past experiences of who and what,caused the issue,is mainline justice there. ours is judicial system on how to run a govenent against its people

  20. all in all,did anyone notice how fast the vacines were submitted and made? if the pharma industry had already a known RNA for that virus since SARS then obviously the research was already known. back when it was the FDA who did research and certs, now its private pharma. the DNA mostly has been opened and labeled. but private industry wants to catagorize every DNA to be held in patent rights. drop that idea for research to be un fettered in its goals. (say bill gates)
    next,one question remains,is chinas industry and development in areas unknown to them or any
    history,unearthing pathogins that may have distroyed other parts of the world in unrecorded history? the talk of one research inst,in china, has been a focal point of blame. or is it just unearthing these unknown pathogins the reason why its been a new storm? maybe developer$ there in china are the issue..just a thought from reading some other news sources..

  21. Paul, untruthful speech that directly causes harm is NOT legal here or anywhere.

    Todd, your anecdotal missive totally ignores the FACT that the vaccine either prevents acquisition of COVID or ameliorates its side-affects. I’ve had COVID. My wife has tested positive too. We are both vaccinated to the max. I recovered after a few days of flu-like symptoms. My wife was a-symptomatic. THOSE are anecdotes you right-wingers ignore for the sake of your confirmation bias.

  22. “We don’t prosecute people in this country for dishonest speech. Not yet at least. We’re not Europe.”
    That is a good thing for the vast majority of GOPIGGIES in congress, and a bad thing for the rest of us.
    DeSantis is playing the D.Trump card. DT is who started the whole line of related bs concerning the
    pandemic. Something like “It will be gone by the summer,” and so forth. Mr, “Alternative facts,” alternative
    ” reality” right out there in the open, had it working for him. And, the biased motivation of his minions ate it up.
    Looking, once again, to Hannah Arendt, for some perspective on this totalitarian phenomenon, we find “Before
    mass leaders seize the power to fit reality to their lies (think Stalin), their propaganda is marked by its extreme
    contempt for facts as such, for in their opinion facts depend entirely on the power of (the)man who can fabricate it.”
    And, “Mass leaders in power have one concern which overrules all utilitarian considerations: to make their
    predictions come true.” The obvious connection to this, of which we are all aware, is “1984.”

  23. Todd, the point of getting vaccinated is that when you got COVID, it was no worse than a bad cold. I got COVID in July after a cruise and it was like mild head cold and was feeling better in 4 days. It took a little longer for my wife, and she had symptoms for 5 days. So one reason we got vaccinated was to protect ourselves.

    There are still people out there that are unvaccinated, or have other conditions that will likely put them in the hospital, or worse yet kill them if they get COVID, so the second reason we got vaccinated was to keep from spreading COVID to those people.

    The third reason we got vaccinated was to keep us and anybody else we might have contact with from having to seek healthcare and overwhelming the medical system and putting medical workers at risk.

    The forth reason we got vaccinated was to keep from spreading a disease that has the possibility of mutating every time it infects a new host. Who is to say if the next mutation will be more or less deadly or more or less infectious.

    Not to make little of your personal experience, but when 35% of the people given a placebo have a reaction they attribute to the vaccine, you might have to question how many people had preexisting problems that they hadn’t bothered to get care for until they had a shot and started paying attention symptoms the shot “suddenly” revealed.

    I will say with the last vaccine, I got the flu shot at the same time. That night I had the worst chills I think I had ever had. So, bad I was almost shaking too hard bring a glass of water to my mouth to take a pill. But, unlike COVID or the flu, everything was back to normal a few hours later. I will never skip a flu shot after haven gotten the flu once and it but me flat on my back for two weeks, and I was out of work for 2 1/2 weeks.

  24. I moved back from my house on a lake in Naples, Florida, to a suburb in Bloomington, Indiana, for one reason, to wit: Herr DeSantis, since I will not be governed by a fascist. He’s an Ivy League equivalent of Herr Trump and both have discovered that many voters yearn to live in authoritarian states where their leaders tell them what to think, what they can say, what their children can learn, putdown of the medicines they can take, sexual mores etc. It’ not just taxes and budgets anymore, Toto, and this isn’t Kansas.

    Both Trump and DeSantis are with their advice in re medical help one step removed from innvoluntary manslaughter, as we have seen by Trump’s ignorant and reckless questioning of the value of the “jabs,” and Herr Ron’s “grand jury investigation” of such medicines’ efficacies -where hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths were directly due to Trump’s “leadership” and Florida’s leadership in unnecessary deaths today. It’s a good thing such politicians in search of all power were not in charge of “gummint policy” when Salk came up with his vaccine. Otherwise wheelchairs might well have outnumbered pedestrians on urban sidewalks. Thankfully, my four kids got their Salk “jabs” and beat the polio rap.

    When does the cover of “policy” morph into violation of the criminal code by politicians seeking power without the consent of the governed, and if there is no code they can violate, can a legislature constitutionally come up with one? How far does the separation of powers
    doctrine extend in such connection? These are some of the possible solutions to the executive power grabs these days that run through my head in (literally) trying to save the lives of my fellow citizens. I thought we elected governors, not dictators, but I’ve been wrong before.

  25. The commenters above who question the value, safety, and effectiveness of vaccines are reciting from the phony Trumpian/”New” GOP script, which exploits popular ignorance and unsophistication for political ends. As a retired physician and medical scientist, I’ve followed the Covid-19 story closely. Clearly, what was accomplished by vaccine developers was revolutionary, completely changing that industry, for the better. (BTW, one of the few good things Trump did was providing federal money to jump-start the vaccine development programs.) More than 20 years of basic research laid the framework for designing and producing the highly effective mRNA vaccines most of us have taken. The medical literature is now filled with well-designed clinical trials and observational data establishing that:
    1. All the vaccines reduce the incidence of infection, though some may be better than others.
    2. All the vaccines reduce the severity of disease in those infected by the coronavirus.
    3. All the vaccines reduce the likelihood of being hospitalized for Covid-19 illness.
    4. All the vaccines reduce the likelihood of dying from Covid-19, almost abolishing it, in fact.
    5. All drugs have adverse effects (“side effects”), some predictable, some not.
    6. Adverse events have been studied now in hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of people receiving Covid-19 mRNA vaccines: they are rare, and mostly transient. Permanent harm and/or death from the vaccines is very rare.
    7. It is far safer to receive these vaccines than it is to drive to and from work every day. Your life is at risk every day you go to work or the store. Covid-19 vaccines carry minimal risk, only once for each vaccination.
    What Florida’s governor is doing is utterly despicable, unjustified on any grounds. His words and actions are doing direct harm to Florida residents and visitors. The fact that Desantis might be the GOP’s next candidate for the US presidency should give all of us daytime chills and night sweats. He is a dangerous man.

  26. Todd DeSmekens is running as Ron DeSantis’ vice presidential sidekick.
    They share a case of political paranoia, which does, after all, pay well in both clicks and dark money.
    Thank you kindly for all those here who detailed their critiques of the possibly criminal and certainly immoral statements made by both.

  27. Since Dan and Hunter covered most of what I wanted to say about vaccines, and more politely, I will just say “thank you” Dan and Hunter.

    As for the Investigations, I am all for them. Start with DeSantis and Ladapo. True, as Paul points out, we don’t prosecute people for lying in this country, but as Vernon points out, words have consequences, and if they lead to harm, that is a crime.

    Republicans believe that they can lie and not be responsible for the consequences. Sadly, it isn’t quite like pouring toxic chemicals into the drinking water and seeing people get sick. It’s like pumping toxic fumes into the air. It’s hard to prove that any particular death was due to that toxic molecule and not some other, but it is harmful nonetheless.

    For the Darwinian hope, if stupid was genetic, and I doubt that it is, most of those idiots have already passed on their genes to the next generation, so they won’t die off from COVID19. A nice schadenfreude thought though.

  28. Paul, your statement: “ We don’t prosecute people in this country for dishonest speech. Not yet at least. We’re not Europe.” Perjury? Or has Trumpsterism s made that a passé crime?

  29. Hubby and I got the Moderna vaccine and the side effect was a very sore arm. I got my second booster 3 weeks ago because I had covid over the summer. My ears blocked up so bad I couldn’t hear much of anything for a month. I have surgery scheduled in 3 weeks so felt it was required.

    My friend teaches German to new residents and had several Moderna vaccines but when she got her booster last January, she ended up in the hospital with cellulitis within 10 days. She had a full body rash and took cortisone for a few months until it finally solved itself. Thankfully, she was still doing zoom lessons and survived. She’s 37 years old. Side effects can happen as we all know. I can’t take flu shots because I’m allergic to eggs and can’t find one made without eggs here. My doctors felt bad for me.

  30. Dan Mullendore, reasons you listed I wish more, many more understood. I am tired of wasting my time in explaining why I say NO to every invite and why I continue to wear a mask.

  31. The slim majorities of Democratic candidates in battleground states may well be explained by the COVID deaths of unvaccinated Republicans.

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