Florida and New York: Examining A Media Coronavirus Narrative Failure

Florida and New York are two of the four most populous states in the country. Since March both states have received among the most media attention in the country for their responses to the coronavirus. The mainstream media has almost universally praised New York governor Andrew Cuomo for his leadership while almost universally denigrating the leadership of Florida governor Ron DeSantis.

New York has been held up as a model for all states to follow -- lauded as a success story by almost all mainstream media -- while Florida has been ridiculed as representing all that is wrong with the nation's response to the coronavirus.

Yet when you look at the data, it's quite clear the media has gotten this completely wrong.

Florida is much closer to the model of a how a state should respond to the coronavirus and New York is a model of how to do everything wrong. Don't believe me? Let's go look at the data.

Today Florida reported 2,957 new coronavirus cases, a total positivity rating among cases at 5.52% -- up slightly from yesterday's 4.87% rate, which was a two month low -- and just 51 new deaths, the lowest number of new deaths in the state in over a month.

Based on all this data it appears Florida's "outbreak" is effectively over.

This should be the number one story in the entire news cycle since the fear porn spread by the news media about Florida has effectively been incessant since March. Florida -- and their governor, Ron DeSantis -- has been the favorite coronavirus boogeyman of the entire country. Meanwhile New York governor Andrew Cuomo has been the media's golden child, the leader who could do no wrong.

Which is why looking at the data, rather than allowing the media to tell you what to think, is important.

Because if you look at the data, spoiler alert, what you see is that Florida governor Ron DeSantis has done a far better job than New York governor Andrew Cuomo at handling the coronavirus.

Consider this most basic stat: deaths per a million residents:

Florida 481
New York 1684

Florida has roughly 25% of the overall deaths of New York despite having an older population than New York. Meaning not just has Florida done nearly 4x as good of a job protecting its residents lives as New York, it's done that despite having a more vulnerable age population.

If New York had the same rate of death of Florida the state of New York would have around 9,000 deaths instead of 32,000 deaths, meaning 23,000 people who are currently dead in New York would still be alive.

Far from doing a good job, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York may well have done the worst job in the entire world. Indeed, the only competitor with him is New Jersey governor Phil Murphy.

Look at the death rates per million in New York and New Jersey compared to the worst death rates in the entire rest of the world:

1. New Jersey 1807
2. New York 1694
3. Belgium 861
4. Peru 831
5. Spain 617
6. England 610
7. Italy 586
8. Sweden 575
9. Chile 564
10. United States 544

So New York and New Jersey were three times as bad as the average in the United States. (Indeed, they are the primary reasons why the United States death rate is so high.)

This is staggering information. New York and New Jersey didn't just do awful at protecting their residents, they were twice as bad as any other country in the entire world.

And they were positively awful compared to the other states in the country.

Here are the four largest largest states in the United States ranked by death per million residents:

1. New York 1694
2. Florida 481
3. Texas 401
4. California 307

Put plainly, New York is an unmitigated disaster compared to the rest of the world and the rest of the United States.

What's more, this doesn't even tell the entire story.

Look at the current unemployment rates in the four largest states as well:

Texas is 8%
Florida is 11.1%
California is 13.3%
New York is 15.9%

So New York had the most deaths from the coronavirus in the nation and has the second worst unemployment rate in the entire nation, by far the worst of our four biggest states. (Massachusetts has the worst unemployment rate in the nation at 16.1%).

You can argue the two primary goals of every governor should be to keep his citizens alive and put his adult citizens to work. If that's the standard than Andrew Cuomo is the worst governor of any of our lives. He's killed his citizens at the highest rates in the world while allowing their unemployment rate to be nearly the highest in the entire country.

And for this Andrew Cuomo is a media star and his performance as a leader is widely praised?

It's mind boggling dishonesty.

Based on his record of protecting life and keeping his state residents employed Andrew Cuomo has been the worst governor of our lives. Yet he's writing a book, due out in October, lauding his own handling of the coronavirus. As if that weren't enough Cuomo, right now, has one of the highest approval rates of any governor in the country and he's the odds on favorite to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2024.

If you doubt the power of the mainstream media to spread fundamental untruths, there is no better example in the 21st century than the lionization of New York governor Andrew Cuomo and his leadership during the coronavirus. Cuomo's New York, far from being an example for the rest of the country, produced the single worst performance in the entire world when you combine deaths and unemployment rates.

Instead of releasing what is likely to be a best-selling book and embarking on a round of media interviews where he will be nearly universally praised, Congress should be opening an inquiry into the death rate in New York state and investigating Cuomo's decision to send thousands of sick patients back into nursing homes. Based on the data that is readily available for all to see, Cuomo should be investigated for manslaughter, not praised as a hero.

Florida and New York tell a story for sure, but it's the exact opposite one the mainstream media is peddling you. If data mattered, Ron DeSantis would be one of our nation's heroes and Andrew Cuomo would be a national pariah. Instead, it's the exact opposite.

Facts matter, we should use them.


If you enjoyed this article you'll love my two most recent podcasts on the coronavirus with Avik Roy and Alex Berenson. I'd encourage you to go listen to both by clicking this link.

Written by
Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021. One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines. Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide. Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports. Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.