Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) remained tight-lipped during a speech, sparking speculation that he had secretly contracted COVID-19. Shortness of breath is a common symptom of the virus.
DeSantis resurfaced this week after a more than two-week absence from the public. His office said it was just a vacation, but many were skeptical.
On Wednesday, DeSantis announced a $10 million investment in semiconductor manufacturing. He said the investment is aimed at limiting dependence on China.
Normally, such an announcement would be a minor political victory. Instead, he went viral because of his possible viral load.
The longer DeSantis spoke, the clearer his breathing became.
Some people joked that he choked on semiconductors. “DeSantis WILL get really emotional when it comes to programs to boost semiconductor manufacturing,” tweeted one.
Many people theorize that the governor has or has COVID.
Two clips of the speech posted by Florida attorney Ron Filipkowski and liberal political action committee Meidas Touch have garnered 3 million cumulative views. At the end of 2020, Filipkowski resignation from a judicial nomination committee to which DeSantis appointed him, in part due to the governor’s COVID response.
Florida is in the midst of a dramatic increase in COVID cases due to the nationally ravaged omicron variant. This has been amplified criticism about how the governor has handled the ongoing public health crisis.
DeSantis opposes mask and vaccine regulations. At the beginning of the pandemic, he false assertion that young people don’t die from COVID.
On Tuesday, DeSantis said that people without symptoms do not need to be tested for the virus even if they have been exposed. Daily News of Naples reported that his general surgeon added, “If you don’t have symptoms, you’re not a case.”
People without symptoms, including those who have been vaccinated, have the potential to spread the virus.
Speculation that DeSantis contracted the virus spread on social media following his speech. It appeared on platforms ranging from Twitter to 4chan and everywhere.
“I pray whatever is happening that God bless and keep the DeSantis family safe,” a remote Telegram channel on the right posted Thursday.
A Redditor commented, “Looks like Trump after climbing the stairs when he comes out of the hospital, just swallowing air.”
“OmicRon DeSantis,” tweeted @Strandjunker.
Many critics of DeSantis took a mocking tone.
DeSantis seemed to be breathing normally for a Press Conference on Thursday. A spokesman for DeSantis did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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* First published: January 6, 2022, 11:04 a.m. CST
Claire Goforth is a Daily Dot staff writer covering all things politics and technology, with a focus on the far right and conspiracy theories.
https://www.dailydot.com/debug/desantis-speech-covid-speculation/ Reminder Speculation He Has COVID