Florida’s total COVID-19 case rate is higher than the national rate and 10th highest in the U.S. But social media posts and the state’s governor point to a recent decline in daily cases as evidence of Florida’s success in handling COVID-19, while ignoring the full impact of the pandemic’s toll on the state.
A manipulated image online shows Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holding a T-shirt reading, “Your mask is as useless as Joe Biden.” DeSantis and the White House have sparred, including on the issue of masks, but the original photo is from 2019 and actually shows DeSantis holding a Popeyes restaurant shirt.
Florida health officials have reported a 60% rise in COVID-19 cases, and hospitals are reporting that 95% of COVID-19 patients are not fully vaccinated. But a Facebook post makes the baseless claims that Florida’s numbers are not going up, and that all COVID-19 patients recently admitted to a Palm Beach County hospital had been vaccinated.
COVID-19 was the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020. But a meme featuring Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis minimizes the toll the pandemic already has taken — particularly among the elderly. The meme also questions getting inoculated, despite the safety record of the vaccines and DeSantis’ public support for vaccines.
As Florida’s COVID-19 case count rose to the second-highest in the U.S. in July, a former challenger for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s congressional seat falsely claimed on social media that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had made a “mistake” and subsequently reduced Florida’s count by 79,000 cases. There was no such adjustment.
Amid a surge in Florida’s COVID-19 cases, a Facebook meme dated June 24 falsely claims the state’s surgeon general recommended that people stop wearing face masks. The surgeon general actually issued an advisory two days earlier saying everyone in Florida “should wear face coverings in any setting where social distancing is not possible.”
A super PAC “solely dedicated to building a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.”