Florida Governor Ron DeSantis threatened today to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Federal government if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not permit cruise ship to sail from ports in Florida by this summer.

DeSantis, who has a history of mocking the CDC, appeared with executives from Carnival, Norwegian, Disney, Royal Caribbean and MSC cruise lines at Port Canaveral. He repeated the talking points that the cruise industry unsuccessfully made this past week to try and convince the CDC to to lift its conditional sailing order (CSO) and permit cruise ships to resume sailing from U.S. ports effective July 1, 2021.

DeSantis said that cruising has resumed with restrictions and protocols in much of the world. He repeated the Cruise Line International Association’s (CLIA) false “claim that there have been no new outbreaks tied to their ships.”

The truth is that there have been over 200 passengers, crew members and contractors who tested positive for COVID-19 during European sailings since cruising was suspended from U.S. ports last year. The cases involved MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises, TUI Group/Mein Schiff, SeaDream, Hurtigruten and a number of smaller river cruise ships. (You can see a partial list here).

ABC News cited the opinions of an epidemiologist from the University of Florida who defended the restriction on cruising, “saying it is still too early for cruise ships to operate. Unlike other modes of transportation . . .  groups on cruises mingle and dine together for long periods, increasing the likelihood of spread, she said, and testing and symptom screening are not perfect methods of prevention.” A flight from Atlanta to Miami takes just two hours compared to a one week (168 hours) cruise from Miami to the Caribbean during which thousand of passengers and crew members from around the world congregate in indoor bars and restaurants.

ABC News pointed out that none of the cruise line executives at the roundtable meeting in Port Canaveral suggested that vaccines should be required as a condition to cruise if cruise ship were permitted to resume sailing from U.S. ports. Significantly, “DeSantis expressed opposition to requiring vaccination for participation in the economy,” according to the news outlet.

The Sun Sentinel reported that DeSantis “used the event as an opportunity to take shots at the Biden administration.” He said that President Biden “. . .  doesn’t even care that people are hurting or that people aren’t able to work.”

Of course, it is DeSantis who is the politician who has demonstrated his disregard for matters of public health and the authority of the CDC. He routinely makes a point of appearing in public not wearing a mask. Five months ago, I wrote this about DeSantis:

“Governor DeSantis has always been an open-the-economy-up advocate who often appears in the public without wearing a mask.  Two weeks ago, he attended a political rally in Florida where he was filmed not wearing a mask, ‘high-fiving’ others without masks in the crowed and then rubbing his nose.”

DeSantis gave a State of the State address three weeks ago where he congratulated himself on opening Florida up, notwithstanding a deadly, worldwide pandemic. He refused to implement a mask policy in the state and would not permit any state officials (such as the mayor of Miami Beach) to enforce the wearing of face coverings. The result, as the Miami Herald called it in an editorial,  was “rowdy COVID super-spreader crowds at beaches around the state.”

You can watch other videos of the mask-less out-of-control party goers at South Beach courtesy of Governor DeSantis here.

Five months ago, DeSantis touted that he was working closely with then President Trump to open the state of Florida up and  “to get cruise ship industry running again.”

The COVID19 pandemic spiked in the Fall last year as the U.S. remained split on basic issues such as the wearing of masks and social distancing. The debate still exists today and often falls along political lines between those who see the wearing of a mask as a responsible measure to protect others versus those who believe that it is a political statement against the ex-president. I wrote at the time:

“The question which the cruise lines need to ask themselves is whether they want their public image to be aligned in the future with such foolish politicians. The current (i.e., Trump) administration will not last forever. An important issue to the cruise lines is whether the public believes that cruising can take place in a reasonably safe manner.

What effect does the image of a governor, wading through a crowd with no one wearing masks as he shakes hands with the onlookers and then rubs his nose, have on those weighing whether it’s safe to cruise?  Everyone who watches this instantly knows that it is not safe to do what the governor just did.”

This mask-less governor of Florida, not the CDC, is responsible for thousands of mask-less spring breakers running wild on South Beach. And it’s this fool who the public should now trust to say when its safe to restart cruises from this state?

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Image Credit: Governor DeSantis – WKMG-TV via News 4 Jacksonville;