MATTHEWS: Southern state GOP governors are handling the coronavirus outbreak well, despite critics

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tours a COVID-19 testing site at Hard Rock Stadium, during the new coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday, May 6, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, Pool)

Not long after President Trump declared a national emergency in mid-March in response to the coronavirus outbreak, the mainstream media commenced a lot of finger-pointing at Republican governors in Southern states for not immediately issuing stay-at-home orders.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was especially vilified as videos of spring break teenagers frolicking on beaches were broadcast on an endless loop and shared all over social media, a hotbed for mob outrage and knee-jerk reactions.

The prevailing sentiment among media elites was that Florida’s hospital system would be overwhelmed. DeSantis, the media said in so many words, would have blood on his hands from his supposed failure to act in a timely manner.

On the flip side, New York’s Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo was hailed by journalists as a magnificent leader from the start of the crisis. As time went on, the murmurings grew louder that Democrats should replace their presumptive 2020 presidential nominee Joe Biden with Cuomo.

Cuomo, you see, could give a good press conference, which was in stark contrast to Biden, who frequently trips over his own words. Conveniently, Cuomo was and is also at the center of a major media/entertainment hub, so they have easy access to him — CNN especially, where his brother Chris is a nighttime anchor.

But as it turns out, giving a good press conference has been about all that Cuomo has been able to do right in the weeks since his “‘New York State on PAUSE” order went into effect on March 22.

Unlike Florida, Cuomo’s state quickly became the epicenter of the virus. As of this writing, the state has had nearly 362,000 confirmed cases and over 28,000 deaths. Of those, over 200,000 have been in New York City, with over 20,000 deaths there.

The New York Times, a Democrat-friendly newspaper, actually did some investigative digging into Cuomo’s handling of the crisis. From that, they reported that leadership failures early on combined with serious communication issues and one-upmanship political games between Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio delayed timely decisions, which hastened the spread of the virus across the state.

New York City was hardest hit. They were also the “primary gateway” for the spread of the virus across the United States, according to another Times report.

Nursing homes in America have been hit particularly hard by the coronavirus, as senior citizens are especially vulnerable to the disease. As it stands now, New York has the highest number of nursing home deaths than any state in the country. Part of the reason for this is Cuomo’s written mandate that nursing homes and assisted living facilities accept COVID-19-infected people.

Crowded subway cars have been hotbeds for the spread of the virus. Yet it was only a few weeks ago that Cuomo ordered NYC subways to be shut down nightly for thorough cleanings and sanitizing.

Contrast all that with the data out of Florida. They have about 2 million more people than New York and a higher concentration of senior citizens. Yet the state has not had nearly the case numbers (49,000) nor deaths (2,150) as New York, and has not faced a nursing home crisis. In fact, Florida has been able to begin their reopening process a lot sooner than New York.

Why? They decided to do things differently rather than follow New York’s approach. Florida understood the one-size-fits-all approach touted by the media was not the right way to manage the crisis there. Fortunately, they were right. The numbers speak for themselves.

The same media who bashed DeSantis owe him an apology for how they treated him like a callous governor more concerned with the economy than the lives of the people of his state. Fortunately, he’s smart enough not to wait around for one. He’s too busy reopening Florida to notice — or care.

Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah, and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.