The residents of the conservative Florida retirement community watch a lot of Fox News, so mostly they believe coronavirus is no big deal.
March 10, 2020

CNN's Martin Savidge went to The Villages, the famously conservative Florida retirement community, to see how it was affecting the lives of the residents. The answer? Not much.

One of the things that was very clear was the kind of attitude you see with anti-vaxxers about herd immunity. They look at the facts in a vacuum of self-interest, and they're either ignorant of or indifferent to the concept of spreading a dangerous disease by sticking to their familiar routine.

Florida is expected to be a hot spot because, as Savidge points out, they get millions of tourists. But they also have a high percentage of elderly people, especially in places like The Villages.

"The CDC recommends people over the age of 60 practice social distancing, limiting close contact with others, avoiding crowds and in some cases even staying home. In central Florida, there are few signs seniors are listening. At this softball game at The Villages outside Orlando, most of the players are in their 60s, 70s, even 80s. The only thing they say they've been told to cut back on is their post-game high fives," Savidge said.

He interviews 72-year-old Rick Sanford, who seems to be a classic Fox News viewer: "I'll be frank and say it's bogus and each individual has to decide upon their own."

He interviews Donna, a woman who thinks it's no big whoop, thanks to Donald Trump.

"I think it's overdone. Absolutely. I think the media is -- I know they have to cover it, but it doesn't seem like it's any worse than the flu or anything else if you're relatively healthy," she said.

"He (Trump) doesn't seem to be, I don't think he's going one way or the other. It doesn't seem like he's being too overly fearful."

Again: It's not overreaction to see what's on the horizon, and take measures to mitigate it. The fact is, if older people don't start paying attention and don't change their lives to limit exposure to the virus, our hospitals will be completely overwhelmed with critical cases and people will die.

At this stage, we can only try to lower the rate of those getting the virus; we can't avoid it completely. But to assume Trump believes what he's saying and knows what he's talking about? That's just suicidal.

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.