Lockdowns don’t work: comparing Florida and California

The most urgent assault on our liberty and the most dangerous attack on human health in decades has taken place in the last year, and it is incumbent on latter-day Saints to speak out against this human-caused disaster. Billions of people have lost freedom — perhaps forever — and hundreds of millions more have suffered depression, anxiety and massive losses in income, all because a few power-hungry politicians imposed ruthless lockdowns throughout the world.

One of the saddest things about the tragedy of the lockdowns is that they simply don’t work. The most respected scientists have known this for decades, which is why there were no lockdowns during past pandemics that were even more deadly than what we are living through today.

But yet, our media today is so dishonest that the public perception remains: lockdowns good, no lockdowns bad.

This post will deal specifically with a comparison between two states, Florida and California. In Florida, the schools are open and people go to the beach and concerts and restaurants. There is no mask mandate in Florida, while two masks are apparently de rigueur in the People’s Republic of California. The heroic Florida Gov. Ron Desantis has actually followed the science, as opposed to his counterpart in California, the authoritarian fool Gavin Newsom, who has sought to take away every possible freedom while refusing to follow his own bizarre rules. The good news is that Newsom is facing a likely recall election, and DeSantis has a 54 percent approval rating.

It turns out that Florida (no lockdown) and California (full lockdown) have had about the same results. Yes, I know most of the media (with some exceptions) has not been reporting this, but it is true, as I will show in this post.

Note: many of the graphs and figures from this post are taken from this story. Also note the following: California has a population of about 40 million, while Florida has a population of 22 million. So, any comparisons should be based on population, not total numbers. In addition, any fair reader would consider that Floridians are older, with a median average age of 42, while Californians have a median age of 37. More than 21 percent of Florida’s population is at least 65 years old, compared to less than 15 percent in California. That makes Florida more susceptible to a virus that disproportionately preys on older residents.

How do California and Florida compare when it comes to COVID-19 hospitalizations? California has a rate of about 56 hospitalizations per 100,000 while Florida has about 35 per 100,000. (It is worth pointing out that earlier in 2020, Florida’s numbers were much higher than California, but the two states have evened out over time).

At its peak on January 12, California reported a single-day total of 22,665 people hospitalized due to the virus while Florida reported 7,762 people on January 14.

source: Tampa Bay Times

How about deaths from COVID? It turns out that Florida has fewer deaths per million right now than California. In fact, Florida is below the national average (the dotted line below), while California is above the national average. Florida is at about eight deaths per million, while California is at about 12 deaths per million. (The below timeframe is from Nov. 1, 2020 to Jan. 21, 2021). To be fair and more complete, it is worth pointing out that since the pandemic began, California has fewer deaths per millions total (about 1200) than Florida (about 1300). By the way, the two worst states in terms of deaths per million are the completely locked down New York and New Jersey (2300 and 2500 deaths per million, respectively), but of course the media refuses to report that inconvenient fact.

Meanwhile, people have been going out to restaurants and living their lives in Florida, while Californians are mostly huddling at home because of draconian government mandates. Take a look at total restaurant visits in Florida (the top line) vs. California (the bottom line):

Here is another graph comparing Los Angeles county to Florida. With all of the tyrannical measures undertaken in Los Angeles, the mask mandates, the state at home orders, the curfews, the closing of indoor and outdoor dining — all of them infringements on personal liberty — Los Angeles has fared significantly worse than the state of Florida during the pandemic.

The timeframe above is from March 2020 to Jan. 2021.

It turns out that by most measurements Florida and California are somewhere in the middle of U.S. states in terms of COVID-19 results. But when it comes to many results that count, the two states could not be more different. California’s unemployment rate is above 9 percent, and Florida’s is about six percent. Californians are fleeing their state in droves, while Florida’s population continues to soar. In California, people are stuck at home, governed by a cabal of hypocritical tyrants, unable to live their lives, while in Florida, people are free.

One of the sad facts about viruses is that they seem to penetrate most defenses. As the Church suggests, masks should be worn as a courtesy to others, but the science clearly shows (and has shown for years) that masks do nothing to stop the spread of viruses. People who are locked down must eventually come out of their homes and interact with others, and when they do they will be exposed to the virus. Epidemiologists have known for decades that the only real solution over time is herd immunity and eventually a vaccine that works and has been tested extensively.

As I have been saying for almost a year now, lockdowns and other government mandates are unconstitutional, dangerous and authoritarian. But worst of all: they don’t work, as this comparison between Florida and California clearly shows.

Quick update: meanwhile in Europe (almost no lockdowns), people in Sweden have freedom and one of the least deadly results on COVID. Very inconvenient for the lockdown people.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

17 thoughts on “Lockdowns don’t work: comparing Florida and California

  1. To her credit, one of the talking heads at MSNBC asked a Biden adviser on COVID about the difference between California and Florida and….he had no explanation. He basically said: the virus is going to act like a virus (and be unpredictable), which is exactly what so many of us said 11 months ago. So many unemployed, so many unnecessary suicides, so much depression and negative health effects, all because people like Biden and Newsom and their various advisers want to control the actions of other people. As usual, the solution to all questions is: liberty. Give people freedom and good things will happen. Many of us understood that, but unfortunately these people did not, and we are all suffering because of it.


  2. Geoff,

    I was with you all the way while to you were talking about lockdowns — but at the end, you inserted masks and you lost me. Your lockdown discussion was supported, but your masks insertion was not. I disagree that masks do nothing to stop the spread of viruses — if I was on a bus with an infected person, his or her mask certainly would slow or stop his or her sneeze from spraying all over me — and my own mask might protect me even more. I think your article would have been more persuasive for me if you has not inserted masks at the end.

  3. JI, interesting that you decided to concentrate on the one thing you didn’t like instead of the many things you said you did like. This is one of the problems with modern-day communications — people become extremely negative, confrontational and contentious, which is one of the many reasons I edit the comments on my posts so much. This is not how people act in real life — they would say something like, “Hey, I really liked your article. You really did a great job with those graphs and that comparison. Do you have more information on your point on masks not being effective — I have not heard that before, and I would like some more information. Thanks again for this article!” Can you see the difference? (This is not an attack on you, JI. You seem like a really smart and good guy (or woman?), and compared to some of the absolute lunatics who comment on my posts, you are certainly one of the best. It is more a commentary on how social media turns people against each other, and I am trying my best to stop that).

    In any case, I have yet to see a peer-reviewed study showing that the masks that most people wear do anything to stop the spread of viruses. There HAVE been several studies showing that N95 masks stop viruses, but those are extremely rare out in public. Viruses are very small and can easily make it through a cloth barrier. To use your example, the person sneezing would still spray the virus all over you — you would just not notice it. And the mask you are wearing would not help you at all because, again, the virus is extremely small and would penetrate your cloth masks.
    There are dozens of studies showing this, and it was well-known until various media groups and social media titans began to censor the internet in the spring of 2020. Just as an informational tool, here are some articles with peer-reviewed studies backing up my point.


    “Importantly, the evidence just is and was not there to support mask use for asymptomatic people to stop viral spread during a pandemic. While the evidence may seem conflicted, the evidence (including the peer-reviewed evidence) actually does not support its use and leans heavily toward masks having no significant impact in stopping spread of the Covid virus.

    In fact, it is not unreasonable at this time to conclude that surgical and cloth masks, used as they currently are, have absolutely no impact on controlling the transmission of Covid-19 virus, and current evidence implies that face masks can be actually harmful.”

    https://www.aier.org/article/the-year-of-disguises/ (good, detailed article on how viruses actually work).

    Yes, there really are 42 peer-reviewed studies listed here showing that masks are not safe and/or effective:


    As I say above, this was well-known until the unscientific year of 2020, when suddenly all of the science from previous years was thrown out of the window for political reasons and reasons of social control. Just to give one example, there was a robust debate in the scientific community in 2015 as to whether masks were even useful in surgery, with a very large number of doctors reporting they were not useful at all but that they used them to make patients feel better. Check out this peer-reviewed study here:


    Finally, we come to the most recent study on mask-wearing in the post-COVID era, which clearly shows no scientific benefits from wearing masks.



    JI, I hesitate to even spend the time posting these studies because my experience indicates to me that most people are “stuck in the Matrix” when it comes to mask wearing and other issues related to COVID-19. Most people are not really willing to step outside what they think is true and consider that maybe they have been lied to and manipulated for the last nine months or so. I would imagine that 95 percent of the people who read this will not even bother to click on any of the articles above because they are so unwilling to consider alternate views. Whenever I post a link to scientific studies, I get angry, over-the-top emotional responses rather than any indications that the people actually dispassionately looked at the evidence. So, if you want to have a debate about masks, I would ask you to take it someplace else. I am just posting this as an informational exercise.

    All the best to you.

  4. Some factors that maybe haven’t been considered:

    Maybe many elderly retirees in FL are self isolating without mandated lockdowns. They saw the deaths in the first wave, and got scared, and have been cautious.

    From Jeff Bliss, of Pacific Watch: people in CA, especially non elderly, are mostly flaunting isolation orders.

    In CA, maybe it’s the younger flaunters of isolation orders with comorbid conditions (obesity, diabetes, etc.) who have been hospitalized and killed by Covid.

    (question: why do minorities have higher death rates due to covid? answer: perhaps because Blacks and Hispanics in the US have significantly higher rates of obesity and diabetes than US Caucasians. Those are two big comorbid factors.)

    How do CA and FL compare in regards to population density, percent of population who are public transit riders, and percent of high rise apartment dwellers sharing elevators, hallways, and enclosed stairwells? Those are major factors we learned from NJ/NY etc.

    It could be that CA would have had _even worse_ outcome statistics without lockdowns. And maybe FL would have had even better stats with stricter isolation.

    This comparison thing is something for geniuses like actuaries to ponder.

    That said, I still agree with you Jeff, that covid has been a perfect opportunity/excuse/cover-story for those who seek to destroy our economy and freedoms. Covid is real. And at the same time has been a good example of the Alinsky-ism of never letting an emergency or disaster go to waste. And its corrolary: the surface issue is never the real underlying issue.

  5. Book, of course these many factors may be relevant, but this does not change the point of the post, which is that, according to the dishonest media and many tyrannical people who love lockdowns, Florida should have 10 times the death rates and hospitalization rate of California. And this is not the case.

    Of course one of the factors may be that elderly people are *voluntarily* staying home. This is exactly what I have been writing and saying for 11 months — let people *voluntarily* make good decisions without government mandates. So if elderly, at risk people are, of their own free will and choice, deciding to stay home, I say, “why should we have any government involvement at all?”

    You write: “It could be that CA would have had _even worse_ outcome statistics without lockdowns. And maybe FL would have had even better stats with stricter isolation.”

    This is an extremely dangerous way of thinking. This is exactly what Marxists say today about the repeated failure of Communism and Socialism over time: we just need to tweak it a little bit here and there and it will finally work. No, the problem is the attempt to control the people and the economy. Marxist philosophy always leads to worse results than the bad regimes that preceded the Marxism. The same thing applies to lockdowns: they will never work in the long run because the negative externalities associated with lockdowns destroying freedom, jobs and health will always be worse than the virus itself.

    I completely agree with your last paragraph.

  6. “ question: why do minorities have higher death rates due to covid? answer: perhaps because Blacks and Hispanics in the US have significantly higher rates of obesity and diabetes than US Caucasians. Those are two big comorbid factors.)”

    Really? That’s your only reason, What about, it also is because like many of them can’t work remotely like my Hispanic friends who have gotten sick with Covid 19, who are “essential workers” don’t have any choice but to go to work in miserable conditions where the employers don’t offer any protection, or else lose their only source of income. Or maybe it is because a lot of racial and ethnic minority members might be more likely to live in multi-generations homes, crowded conditions and densely populated areas, such as LA, Chicago or New York City.
    And as according to the CDC nearly 25% of employed Hispanic and Black or African Americans work in the service industry, compared with 16% of white workers. Black or African Americans also account for 30% of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses. Many people of color also depend on public transportation to get to work, which can result in exposure to the virus.

    What Covid has done is highlight the racial disparities. Also, pandemics historically have hit the most vulnerable and marginalized populations hardest. The fact that African-Americans have higher rates of chronic health conditions to begin with is, in itself, a reflection of that social and economic inequality.

  7. Kareen, I am letting this comment through, but this is really not the subject of this post, so I am going to encourage you guys to take this discussion somewhere else. I think Kareen makes some decent points, however. The thing that he does not seem to recognize is that there have been many pandemics over the years, and this is the first one where “free” countries have responded with lockdowns, and it is the pandemic AND the lockdowns that are hurting the poor and the minority populations. As I say above, the response is worse than the disease itself. I work for a company that is about half caucasian and half various minority groups, and the “minorities” are all white collar professionals who can work from home via Zoom, so in my particular case, the response has not hurt minorities in my job, but in so many other cases, yes, the minorities suffer the most. That is a valid point.

  8. The question of lockdowns is one fraught with uncertainty. Nobody can genuinely prove how effective they are or aren’t, or the extent of their negative second- and third-order effects. Given this total absence of certainty, the government’s default choice should be liberty.

  9. Although there are some thoughtful points here, it is an apples-to-oranges comparison to have a chart with Los Angeles and Florida. Florida has vast stretches of rurality, without the population density of Los Angeles. A more appropriate comparison would be Los Angeles with Miami-Dade.

    Also, it should be noted that Florida data are lagging for some of these indicators that are being compared. Today my local (Florida) newspaper noted, “Fatalities are reported as soon as they are verified with the health department, but that process usually takes about four to six weeks.” If the California deaths are not lagging at a similar rate, the comparison could be misleading.

  10. A while back I was trying to get a feel for how vulnerable people with cystic fibrosis might be to COVID. But to date the data for folks with CF isn’t showing lots of infections and deaths.

    But the studies admitted that people suffering from CF are taking the pandemic seriously, and therefore the data shouldn’t be interpreted as meaning COVID would be safe for those suffering from CF, since people with CF are taking all precautions rather than gamble with this virus, as so many have done.

    it’s to say that some data is meaningful, and other data (or lack thereof) is less meaningful.

  11. Florida did lock down from March to May. Many elderly voluntarily self isolated. I have been frustrated with DeSantis prioritizing the economy. I am very grateful for the Floridians that took the risk seriously and have mitigated worse infection rates. Our humidity may also be a factor. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/op-ed-humidity-can-aid-in-the-fight-against-covid-19/

    DeSantis has prioritized the elderly for the vaccine, over the teachers that are required to show up since DeSantis mandated schools offer in-person instruction in the fall.

    Florida gets a lot of tourism and the restaurant sales may reflect visitors to the state. If California was limiting restaurants opening, that would have suppressed their numbers so tourists didn’t have the option. And on the subject of tourism, Florida does not include out of state residents in the reporting of covid cases. Who knows how many people brought Covid to Florida, or caught it here and had their cases reported in the numbers for their home state.

    Living in Florida, our family is on voluntary lockdown. My liberties are doing just fine.

  12. Eliza, yes, your liberties are doing very well indeed if you can *choose* whether or not to stay home in a voluntary lockdown. That is the entire point of my many posts on the subject: allow people to make their own choices and most people will make good choices. Florida proves there is no reason for the government on any level to be involved in this at all (except to coordinate humanitarian responses in some cases, but even that is usually done better by private entities). It is the poor people of California, New York and New Jersey and the really suffering people of most of Europe who are hurting because of tyrannical governments. You are lucky to live someplace where your liberties can do just fine.

  13. Naismith, given the rhetoric from the corporate media, you would expect Florida to have 10 times the deaths per capita and 10 times the hospitalizations per capita as California. But it does not. The unscientific pablum pushed by media talking heads for 11 months now has told us that we will all die unless we huddle in our homes 24 hours a day. And, in fact, Florida proves that 1)people can voluntarily choose to stay home if that is what they feel is the best option for their health and 2)the unscientific hype was wrong as could be. You can pick nits about a comparison between LA and Florida (which was not the central point of my post, and you know it), but you cannot overcome the fact that the media was wrong in predicting massive death in Florida because it ended the lockdowns. When you turn on the news, you can hear the disappointment from the ghouls in the corporate media that more people did not die in Florida because that would have justified all of the hype. It is sickening, to be quite frank. I am surprised more people are not happy to see that freedom actually does bring good results, but actually now that I think about it, I am not that surprised after all. Most people are sheep these days when it comes to allowing themselves to be manipulated by the news. It is a sad sign of our times.

  14. The very use of the term “pandemic” is misleading. Long ago (probably February 2020) SARS Cov2 became a virus endemic to homo sapiens. This is important because the strategies and tactics needed to combat a pandemic are very different than those required to control a disease endemic to our species. The CDC knows this and yet they continue to treat SARS Cov2 as a pandemic and that is a lie.

  15. More information showing that Florida (no lockdown) is doing better than similar locked down states. As the attached says, “Florida wins big.”

  16. I appreciate the article. I also agree with most of it. The last part about a “real” vaccine is a little misleading, though. There is a lot of misinformation about what an mRNA vaccine is and does.

    A “real” vaccine provides dead or attenuated actual virus for your immune system to target. The mRNA vaccine provides instructions to the body’s cells to produce targets for that same immune system to target. Your genes are never influenced, and the result from both is that you get an immune response. In the case of mRNA, we are simply able to target specific sites, so you are less likely to develop an auto-immunity or have an adverse reaction to the vaccine.

    mRNA vaccines are vaccines, though, and your genetics are never interfered with. That is some serious misinformation.

  17. Daniel, I deleted the reference to gene therapy. I would like to point out to readers that my point was a basic common sense one: people should wait a while before putting stuff in their bodies that has not been tested extensively. I am not an anti-vaxxer and I am happy that many vaccines exist, but I have already gotten COVID and I was sick for just a few days with no long-term side effects, so there is no real reason for me to get the vaccine. For many people, including many of my older, high-risk friends and relatives, taking the vaccine makes sense, however. I would encourage people to read this report, which is better than the one in the OP that I deleted:


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