Sunday, June 28, 2020

Abandoning Chicago for FL or TX probably not a good idea

Florida bars empty out as the state's COVID cases top 10,000. 10M globally. 
FL reported 9,585 new corona cases yesterday, exceeding the previous record set Friday. Today the total number of cases has already soared above 10,000. The mainly young people who flocked to the beaches and packed the bars over Memorial Day, along with their older, more at-risk friends and relatives, are now feeling the pain of Gov. Rick DeSantis' early opening. He's boasted all along that he, like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, were more than willing to play Trump's dangerous game by sacrificing thousands of lives in order to jumpstart "the economy" and boost corporate profits.

Then after helping jack up the state's COVID death toll above 3,300. DeSantis doubled down, moving on FL's public school system by expanding the already-huge school voucher and "scholarship" program.

A measure DeSantis signed Thursday will increase funneling of taxpayer dollars away from public schools and into the pockets of private school operators. It quadruples the rate at which vouchers will grow annually. This at a time when public ed in the state has been battered by the pandemic and will need those dollars and many more if radically replanned public schools are to reopen safely in the future.

If the metaphor holds up and this is really a war against COVID, DeSantis and Abbott will go down as two of the sleaziest enemy agents of all time.

This morning, I'm worried about my many friends and some of our closest relatives living in FL as the cases mount and the death toll spirals out of control. I'm also thankful to be here in Chicago where Gov. Pritzker's and Mayor Lightfoot's leadership in response to the pandemic has thus far been effective.

According to Crain's Greg Hinz:
It’s hard to deny Lightfoot and Pritzker a well-earned victory lap for their response to the pandemic. Their plan was early, thorough, and comprehensive. And it worked, as the number of cases and hospitalizations has plummeted even as the amount of testing has soared.
Hinz, btw, was actually being critical of Lightfoot and Pritzker for being "arbitrary." He claims Republicans "had a point" in their suit against Pritzker for setting a 10-person limit on public gatherings. Of course, any number would be arbitrary. But the results so far show the Gov was right. Republicans would have had us going the way of Florida and Texas.
Melbourne, FL restaurant. 

IN HINDSIGHT...Then there's former Chicagoan and Tribune right-winger Dennis Byrne who abandoned our city for the hotter and more open climes of Florida to escape the mask-and-distancing tyranny of Lightfoot/Pritzker. Back in May Byrne wrote blissfully about being able to gorge on a "brisket and bacon burger slathered with BBQ sauce, cheese, onions and mayonnaise" at Jacksonville’s BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse.

Wrote Byrne:
It tasted good enough by itself, without the added delight of knowing that such pleasures were verboten in Chicago and throughout Illinois. Here’s to you, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
Yeah sure, you know better, having confined your masses to a much more rigid, nearly universal lockdown. Never mind the restaurants that will go out of business. Never mind the people you treat like sheep who don’t know how to take care of themselves. Be satisfied with your self-assured virtue and wisdom.
Nearly two months have now passed. FL's bars are empty. The beaches are closing. BJ's has been forced to close again for indoor dining. But they still offer curbside pickup if you're dying for brisket and bacon burger. Florida is facing record highs in COVID cases and deaths while Chicago has flattened the curve. The mayor's go-slow reopening has probably saved thousands of lives.

I'm still looking for an apology to Chicagoans from Byrne but doubt if I'll see one. In fact, he hasn't mentioned the word Florida in the past month of tweeting. I hope he got COVID tested and his arteries reamed out after his BJ's extravaganza.

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