Saturday, February 06, 2021

DeSantis rejects inmates getting vaccines ahead of seniors, despite rising prison deaths (Orlando Sentinel)

Does Gov. DeSantis devalue the lives of all employees, including Florida's jail and prison guards and their families, or the judges, jurors, bailiffs, prosecutors, defense lawyers and other courthouse employees?
Criminal civil rights violations? Deliberate refusal to consider health statistics about disease outbreaks in jails and prisons? 

Outrageous, intentional discrimination against prisoners, based on perceived race and status? 

Directly afflicting the guards and support staff, located inches from infected prisoners?

Is DeathSantis going crazy, like erstwhile benefactor DONALD JOHN TRUMP?

You tell me. 

Science Fact vs. Science Fiction:  Governor -- We can't protect the health of jail and prison guards and their famiilies from COVID-19 without inocculating the prisoners. 

It's basic science. 

Close confined spaces. 

Required bed checks, meals, exercise, showers, etc. require close proximity between guards and prisoners.  

Disease spreads quickly, as does death. 

Is Flori-DUH Governor RONALD DION DeSANTIS reckless, feckless, clueless, heartless or just plain mean and stupid, the way KKK prefers in its politicians? 

RONALD DION DeSANTIS, this dupery, dopey, DONALD JOHN TRUMP accomplice, this hick hack hobbledehoy, is until January 2023 in our employ. 

Vote him out, please. 

DeathSANTIS comes from a privileged background as the former Yale University Baseball Team Captain, Harvard Law School Graduate, znd fascist KOCH INDUSTRIES' alien implant with HOLLAMD & KNIGHT, duked in as our St. Augustine Congressman with a de micromis vote in the desultory 2012 Dull Republican Primary.  

Did nothing for our Congressional District, 2013-2018.

Then elected Governor, defeating Adam Putnam in primary.

Elected Governor, running on racist tropes, e.g., "Don't Monkey This Up," in his running a Trump-supporteed racist campaign against Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the superior candidate. 

 DeSantis rejects inmates getting vaccines ahead of seniors, despite rising prison deaths 

Gov. Ron DeSantis says close to 30% of Florida seniors have had one COVID-19 vaccine shot, hospitalizations down per capita. Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday dismissed the idea of vaccinating prison inmates for COVID-19 ahead of seniors, despite the skyrocketing death rates in the state’s prison system. More than 23,000 inmates in Florida’s prison system are more than 50 years old, according to state records, and the situation in Florida’s prison system is deteriorating. 

 DeSantis was in The Villages to announce additional drive-through vaccination sites with an increased supply from the federal government, including a permanent site in the sprawling senior community northwest of Orlando. DeSantis said Florida ranked first or second in the country in the percentage of seniors vaccinated, at close to 30%. 

Many other states, however, have different policies that started out making essential workers a priority over people 65 and older. “There’s some states that are still in single digits on that,” DeSantis said of senior vaccinations. “You know, some of these states are vaccinating prisoners instead of seniors. They’re vaccinating drug addicts instead of seniors.” He added, “Whose priorities are you looking out for? We’re looking out for our parents and grandparents here in Florida. There’s no way you’re going to get some prisoner a vaccine over a senior citizen. And so our seniors-first promise is ironclad.” 

As COVID-19 ran rampant in Florida prisons, inmate deaths jumped 45% in 2020 Denise Rock, the executive director of the prisoner advocacy group Florida Cares, said she was shocked by the insensitivity of DeSantis’ comments Monday. “They’re still human beings and they’re still somebody else’s … family member,” Rock said. “That was extremely inconsiderate.” She said she understands prisoners may not be first in line, but she said those over 65 should have access to the vaccine, just like people on the outside. She said she’d like to see either elderly inmates prioritized or prison staff. “We’ve seen in the COVID deaths, it’s the same targeted people,” Rock said. 

An Orlando Sentinel analysis showed that inmate deaths in Florida state prisons rose 45% last year over an average from the four prior years. Of the COVID inmate deaths for which the Sentinel has obtained details from medical examiners, about half were people 65 or older. 

Almost 600 incarcerated men and women died in Florida Department of Corrections custody in 2020, up by about 200 deaths compared with previous years. As of the end of the year, FDC had linked 119 prisoners deaths to COVID-19. And at least six corrections staff have died of COVID-19 as well. 

In a slip of the tongue, DeSantis also said they were expanding vaccinations at The Villages and other “like-minded” communities. He corrected himself to “similar-situated” communities. DeSantis has been slammed by Democrats and other critics for what they claim is prioritizing vaccination distribution to Republican areas. 

The rollout of the Publix vaccination program was almost entirely in suburban and rural counties won by DeSantis and Trump in 2018 and 2020. The Florida-based grocery chain also gave $100,000 to DeSantis in contributions in December. Publix COVID-19 vaccine lies out of reach for poor, Black Floridians 

DeSantis has said the program was designed to reach areas without major hospital systems, as Orlando, Miami, Tampa and other large cities have. He added that Walmart and Winn Dixie have also been approached as potential distribution sites. He also denied that race played any factor in distribution, in response to a question citing reports showing that there were fewer Publix distribution sites in African American neighborhoods. “We’ve been doing these church programs for weeks and weeks, where we go [with vaccines] and it’s predominantly been African American churches,” DeSantis said. 

But programs are “not based on any type of community, or based on any type of racial consideration. It’s open to all comers. Again, we’re focusing on seniors first. And so we want to focus on those who are 65. But that’s based on age, it’s not based on anything else.” 

 Regarding The Villages’ permanent drive-through site, DeSantis said it was expected to receive 4,000 doses this week, part of an increase from 266,000 to 307,000 doses the state is now getting weekly. The increase in supply is due to a federal government program announced by President Biden that started this week. The governor said at least 1.25 million seniors have already received the first shot. The number could possibly be higher, as he pointed out the actual reported numbers are lagging behind. He specifically cited The Villages and Orlando as examples of where vaccine distribution was going well. “The Central Florida area has done a good job,” he said. “Orlando has done a lot of vaccines. I think part of it is because your health care system has really, really done a good job.” 

Staff writer Grace Toohey contributed to this report. Steve Lemongello is the Sentinel's senior content editor for politics. A Fordham University graduate, he worked at the Press of Atlantic City and the Jersey Journal in New Jersey and joined the Sentinel in 2014. He covered Winter Park, Maitland and Osceola County before becoming politics reporter in 2016. He also covered Orange County government. Garfield Hylton is a digital producer for the Orlando Sentinel. He has a bachelor's in psychology from Florida State, a Juris Doctorate from North Carolina Central and a master's in digital journalism from USF, St. Petersburg. He worked as an op-ed writer for pop-culture, music and video games while developing a skill set as a TV news producer.

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