Masked California has double the COVID rate of unmasked Florida

Despite California having some of the strictest COVID restrictions and mask requirements, the Golden State is reporting twice the COVID rate of Florida, one of the most unrestricted states in the nation.

“You’re paying for your success, which is weird,” said Ali H. Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington. “You succeed in controlling the virus, and now you’re having infections.”

“Paying” for success includes even more stringent mandates for Californians. Local health officers have ramped up and reimposed mask mandates for indoor activities regardless of vaccination status.

The CDC has marked California as a “red” zone, which indicates both a high infection rate and high transmissibility. Florida is an “orange” zone of “substantial” transmission, according to the CDC. These same health officials cracking down on mask wearing say they will not let up until California goes to level “orange” for a minimum of three weeks.

California is among 19 states that are seeing increased transmission of the virus. Mokdad notes that the rise of infections comes even though California’s rates “had previously appeared to have been declining.”

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Meanwhile in Florida, infection rates are declining as the state abandons mask mandates, opposes vaccine mandates, and has lower vaccination rates than California. 

“This is great news! For two weeks and counting, Florida has had the lowest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the entire country – with no mandates, vaccine passports, or lockdowns. Overall, COVID hospitalizations have been declining for more than 70 days straight, and we’re at an all time low in terms of the number of COVID patients hospitalized statewide,” Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, told Fox News on Monday.

“Gov. DeSantis is proud of Florida’s success with launching monoclonal antibody treatment sites throughout the state, which made a huge impact on lowering hospitalizations and saving lives. Early treatment – getting the monoclonal antibodies as soon as possible after testing positive or experiencing symptoms – cuts the risk of hospitalization by 70% or more,” Pushaw added.

Others, though, are not confident that Florida’s success in combating the virus will last. Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the medical department at the University of California-San Francisco, is skeptical, given Florida’s lower vaccination rates and prior infection levels. 

“These regions are now being partly protected by high prior infection rates,” said Dr. Bob Wachter, “But these people whose immunity comes from COVID-19 are not very well protected, and their immunity will wane with time.”

“California has done very well over the past few months, but we still have too many unvaccinated people,” he continued. “People are spending more time inside and being more active, and masking is going down.”

Florida celebrated another benchmark last week, with Doctor’s Hospital, which has been on the front line of the fight against COVID-19, announced that for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, it has zero COVID patients.