Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been an opponent of mass mandates since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. His administration is now in a protracted battle against school districts that implemented mask mandates in defiance of his executive order.
DeSantis has also been criticized for failing to sufficiently promote vaccines, criticisms that have grown in volume as Florida has become the epicenter of the Delta variant. (DeSantis’ office insists he’s effectively promoted vaccines).
To hear his spokesperson Christina Pushaw tell it, people aren’t getting vaccinated for COVID because they’ve been misled to believe that masks work just as well.
On Wednesday, Pushaw tweeted, “How many Americans are hesitant to get vaccinated because they have been misled to believe that if they ‘just wear a mask’ it will protect them enough from COVID-19?”
Twitter users aren’t having it. Pushaw’s tweet attracted significant pushback.
“DeSantis’ press secretary manages to push vaccine hesitancy and bad science regarding the effectiveness of masks in one tweet,” tweeted Thomas Kennedy, a member of the Florida Democratic Party. “Reminder that she gets paid $120,000 a year by taxpayers to spread this sort of disinformation on a daily basis.”
Similar responses flooded Pushaw’s tweet.
Studies have shown that masks reduce the spread of COVID. Studies have also shown that vaccines are overwhelmingly effective at lowering the likelihood of contracting COVID and of experiencing severe illness if you do contract what’s known as a “breakthrough case.”
To date, COVID has killed 640,000 Americans, nearly 45,000 of them Floridians.