No vaccine passports (they’re banned), no tests, no masks, no distancing – 22,000 people packed together for an outdoor live music event in Florida. Freedom-loving Governor Ron DeSantis showed up and was treated to a hero’s welcome. The Capitolist has the story – though there was notably little coverage of this milestone in pandemic recovery elsewhere.
Video from this weekend’s Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam shows the governor emerging out of the smoke on the concert venue’s runway as “Crazy Train” blares and roughly 22,000 country music fans erupt into thunderous applause. He throws his arms in the air, encouraging the crowd even more, clearly enjoying the experience.
“Amazing,” a man backstage is heard on a video saying as DeSantis takes the stage, “that guy’s a rock star.”
DeSantis made a surprise appearance to the concert last night to welcome country music fans to Panama City Beach and thank them for attending what is believed to be the first major live music festival event since Covid.
The Panama City Beach 2021 Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam three-day event did not require masks and featured headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brad Paisley and Luke Bryan. It was originally slated to occur last Labor Day weekend but was postponed because of the pandemic.
The festival is just the latest example of Florida’s determination to get life back to normal.
During DeSantis’ brief remarks he encouraged other states and countries to follow Florida’s lead and open back up and “let people live their lives.” The crowd roared when he said the reason Florida was hosting the event was because “Florida chose Freedom over Faucism.”
While the U.K. dithers about whether to take a step closer to normal later this month, Florida ended all restrictions eight months ago in September 2020 and went through the winter without lockdowns or mask mandates. But no public health disaster unfolded, and the state did better than strict lockdown states like California.
Since the U.K. Government is so keen to follow the science and restore our freedoms as quickly as possible, presumably they are right at this moment sending teams to Florida and other re-opened states like Texas to find out what real-world data rather than models show about what happens when places reopen without vaccine certificates, tests, masks and so on and get back to normal.
Yes, I’m sure there’s going to be a Public Health England report on the lessons we can learn from the open U.S. states any day now. And next time Imperial College or Warwick produce a model predicting impending disaster, I can already hear Chris Whitty asking them: “You have made sure it fits with what happened in Florida, Texas and Sweden, haven’t you? I’d hate to think we were using modelling that wasn’t road-tested on real-world outcomes when there’s now so much data on what happens in different scenarios.” Because that’s how science works, right? Models are tested and improved through continually comparing to real-world outcomes. I’m sure the Government wouldn’t want to keep making the same mistakes over and over again without learning from those who do things differently. That would be awful. No Government in its right mind would do that.