Jayanta Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford University, recently did something that’s rather rare for an academic in the medical field: he took time during an interview to gush about and sing the praises of a politician — in this case, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
“I’ve never met a politician like him. He’s extraordinary,” Bhattacharya said. He made these comments while being interviewed by libertarian historian and podcast host Tom Woods on Woods’ eponymously titled podcast.
And the reason for them? DeSantis, unlike nearly any other major politician in the country, has chosen to buck the public health bureaucracy and pay attention to actual scientific evidence when formulating Florida’s COVID response policies. The results have thus far been impressive.
DeSantis Earns Praise
COVID lockdown skeptics may know Bhattacharya as one of the drafters, signatories and advocates of what is known as the Great Barrington Declaration. This is a strategy for dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic which relies on established knowledge about how viruses spread and how herd immunity develops. It also uses what we know about who is at the highest risk for serious complications from COVID-19 to formulate a response to the virus while minimizing infringements on people’s civil liberties.
DeSantis has held roundtable discussions with scientists like Bhattacharya who are skeptical of the efficacy of lockdowns as a way of combating the spread of the virus. Consequently, DeSantis has essentially ended both lockdowns and mask mandates in his state. Contrary to the predictions of the public health establishment, Florida has ended up faring exceptionally well.
Talking about DeSantis, Bhattacharya went on to say, “We had a two-hour conversation about COVID policies — this is in September of last year — and he has read all of the papers I referenced, and not just my articles, lots and lots of other papers. He knew all the details; it was a remarkable conversation.”
Bhattacharya has both a PhD in economics and a medical degree, and yet he was moved to say of De Santis, “He could go up against an epidemiologist. I mean, most, most epidemiologists don’t know the literature as well as he does… I’ve just been very impressed.”
Bhattacharya praised DeSantis for his “willingness to take a stand” against a self-serving health establishment and a biased media, and Woods — who lives in Florida — also admitted that he himself had misjudged DeSantis.
Woods has been one of the fiercest critics anywhere of lockdown policies, regularly describing those who fixate on the virus as “ghouls” in search of any excuse to spread bad news and who regularly ignore scientific evidence.
Those on the left, who like to wield “science” as a cudgel to shut down any dissent against their authoritarian ambitions would do well to study what DeSantis has done in Florida. With the mainstream media being what it is, however, endless excuses will be used to ignore DeSantis’ stellar results.