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Joe Nocera and Faye Flam

The Pandemic Isn’t Over, But We’re Over It

The beginning of the end of the pandemic as seen from Florida, New York and Rhode Island.

Maybe Covid doesn’t cross the caution tape.

Maybe Covid doesn’t cross the caution tape.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Joe Nocera: I've just finished a couple of weeks in Delray Beach, Florida, and I have to tell you: It's a whole different pandemic down here. The restaurants are full; the stores are hopping. Waiters and salespeople wear masks, but most other people don't, not even in crowded bars. South Floridians are acting as if the pandemic is over, even though it plainly isn't.

Most of my friends in New York tend to view Floridians as idiots, at least when it comes to Covid-19. They're convinced that Governor Ron DeSantis is hiding the true number of fatalities, and that his refusal to impose a mask mandate and his insistence on keeping the economy relatively open are the irresponsible acts of a Trump wannabe.