New York Times columnist Paul Krugman faced backlash for claiming that Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., caused 20,000 "unnecessary deaths" because of his coronavirus polices in what many viewed as "disinformation."
On Sunday, Krugman put out a lengthy Twitter thread on the possibility of DeSantis running for president in 2024 after he won a second term as governor in a historic landslide.
Rather than discuss DeSantis’ election prospects, Krugman focused primarily on attacking the governor for thousands of "excess" deaths from the coronavirus pandemic.
"Can Ron DeSantis effectively challenge Trump? I have no idea. But one thing I hope doesn't get forgotten in the horse-race coverage is DeSantis' major achievement as governor: the unnecessary death of around 20,000 Floridians," Krugman wrote.
He claimed that he found the number by comparing COVID-19 deaths by state since Jan. 2021 based on when vaccines were widely available as well as adjusting for population.
"Adjusted for population, the Florida-equivalent death toll was FL 59,170; CA 39,217; NY 39,551. So states that didn't have governors promoting Covid disinformation and anti-tax propaganda lost far fewer people — the equivalent of ~20K excess in FL," Krugman tweeted.
Krugman’s tweets were heavily attacked, primarily for ignoring Florida’s older population in comparison to the other states.
Townhall.com web editor Rebecca Downs wrote, "How on earth do you not adjust for age unless you’re trying to be a complete liar?"
"Florida has the second oldest population in the nation. And the vaccines don’t work as promised. You are a hack partisan buffoon on this issue, like everything else. LOL at ‘anti-tax propaganda’ though," "Rubin Report" host Dave Rubin tweeted.
"Why would you adjust for population and not age for a disease where the mortality is mostly on the older side?" asked NewsNation digital reporter Zaid Jilani.
The Lafayette Co. president Ellen Carmichael pointed out how Krugman's parameters could be turned around on Bide, commenting, "This is a truly fantastic argument considering Biden oversaw the deaths of hundreds of thousands more Americans than Trump did, even with abundant vaccine access."
"You should delete this, given that it's already been clearly marked as disinformation thanks to your inability to do math," The Spectator editor-at-large Ben Domenech wrote.
Fellow New York Times columnist Joe Nocera remarked, "So according to you, Cuomo is off the hook for sending infected nursing home residents back to spread C19 in their facilities, but DeSantis is damned b/c Fl has the highest %age of elderly in the nation. Really?? If you adjust for age of population, Cal and Fl are even."
Writer Rav Arora said, "An economist and NYT opinion columnist doesn’t understand basic statistics. You control for relevant variables before comparing two groups — so it’s not apples to oranges. Missing a big one: age. @paulkrugman you should come back to undergrad with me and take stats 101."
Krugman continued to criticize DeSantis, claiming that the governor "deterred" people from receiving "life-saving" vaccines.
"Why didn't DeSantis pay a price for this? Because Covid victims die out of the public eye, offscreen as it were. A resident of Florida is ~20X as likely to die gratuitously from Covid as a resident of NY is to be murdered, but crime makes headlines while other deaths don't," Krugman wrote. "And no, it's not about freedom. We're not talking about lockdowns and restrictions at this point, just about lifesaving shots that DeSantis deterred people from getting. Truly awesome."