The final shot for economic recovery

Posted 7/23/21

Since President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in, we’ve seen unprecedented economic growth.

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The final shot for economic recovery

Posted

Since President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in, we’ve seen unprecedented economic growth. Over three million jobs were added to our economy in the past six months and companies are giving workers raises across the nation — we’re witnessing the highest rate of growth in almost forty years.

The Biden-Harris Administration has worked around the clock since taking office to fulfill their promise of building back better. And they’ve been successful, delivering support for Americans in need due to hardship fueled by the pandemic with the American Rescue Plan.

Vaccines are the driving force behind our swift and strong economic recovery. And with 162 million Americans fully vaccinated, workers and consumers have been able to stay safe and healthy.

But on Monday, the market was pummeled. The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its worst drop since October 2020. As new COVID cases rise, business leaders are worried that the variant’s spread will reduce spending and harm supply chains.

Consumers and companies are losing confidence in our recovery because they know our economy is dependent on our health. That’s why President Biden is urging more Americans to get the vaccine. Unfortunately, leaders across the country either don’t know this or refuse to believe it.

Take Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for example. Last week, he released anti-science merchandise through his political committee attacking Dr. Fauci and mocking masks to raise campaign cash. With slogans like, “Don’t Fauci my Florida” and “How the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?” — DeSantis has made it clear that for him, political ambition takes precedence over science and public health.

But as the anti-science merchandise was released, Florida led the country in new COVID-19 cases, with an increase of over 200 percent, accounting for more than twenty percent of new cases nationwide. The Sunshine State has also led in hospitalizations with over 3,600 from July seventh to fourteenth, and now has the fourth-highest per-capita hospitalization rate in America.

Since the onset, DeSantis has politicized the pandemic, following former President Trump’s direction and ignoring science, holding roundtables with Dr. Scott Atlas that were brimming with misinformation, blocking local officials from protecting their communities, refusing help from President Biden to distribute vaccines, and suing the CDC to stop cruise ships from requiring vaccines. On Monday, he avoided answering questions about efforts to increase Florida’s fully vaccinated population, instead blaming “experts” and misinformation for low vaccination rates.

Then on Wednesday, we saw a tone shift from the governor, he stated “vaccines are saving lives” and said the benefits outweigh the small side effect risks. But actions speak louder than words — DeSantis got his vaccine in private and Florida doesn’t have a comprehensive public outreach campaign urging vaccinations, even as other governors take action to incentivize and urge Americans to get the shot.

On Thursday, Florida reported over 12,600 new cases accounting for 22.9% of daily cases in the U.S. To continue adding jobs and maintain our economic resurgence, it’s imperative that leaders use every tool at their disposal to educate and encourage hesitant residents to get the vaccine. It’s simple, unless we stop this rise of new COVID cases, we can’t continue our strong recovery.

To move past this pandemic fully, we need a shift in thinking on vaccines — politics can no longer be put above public health. Words matter. Anti-vaccine messaging is translating directly into actions that hurt economic recovery, putting more lives and jobs at risk.

Governor DeSantis has the full resources of the state available to him, he should work with President Biden, and any official who can help to convince more Floridians to get the vaccine and improve the state’s vaccine rate.

Only by working together can we keep building back better. The strength of our economy depends on public health, if leaders choose to ignore science, they should be held fully accountable.

Nikki Fried is Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner and a Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

economy, covid, jobs

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