Bill Maher praises Florida, says blue states fared worst against COVID

"I’ve been to Florida, the atmosphere was just night and day from California, which was gloomy," Maher said.

Updated: January 23, 2022 - 5:50pm

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Comedian Bill Maher on Friday during his HBO show praised Florida while criticizing Democrat-controlled states with stringent COVID mandates. 

Journalist Bari Weiss joined Maher in slamming lockdown measures on "Real Time with Bill Maher," while panelist Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) defended a strict approach to COVID.

"I asked for the COVID deaths by state, this is per 100,000 people. The worst is Mississippi," Maher said. "My home state, New Jersey, four, fourth worst. New York, sixth worst. West Virginia and Massachusetts are 10 and 11, right together. Could there be two states who are more unalike than West Virginia and Massachusetts?"

The liberal host continued: "The poster boy for keeping s*** open was Florida. They’re down at 17. So New York and New Jersey did worse than Florida. What I'm saying is –"

Torres interrupted to defend New York: "We did worse because we're a densely populated hub of international travel." 

“Florida is home to all the old people in America,” Maher responded. 

Torres interjected again, saying that data show the unvaccinated make up the overwhelming number of deaths and hospitalizations. 

"But that's not even the issue we're talking about now. We will get to it," Maher said to applause. "What this is saying is Florida, like, stayed open… I'm just saying AOC just went to Florida and had a good time without a mask."

At the end of December, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was spotted maskless in Florida, despite previously denouncing the state's COVID policies as too relaxed. She tested positive for COVID less than two weeks later.

"I’ve been to Florida, the atmosphere was just night and day from California, which was gloomy," Maher said. "Basically, it’s like [Florida] stayed open and went on with life, and they didn’t do a hell of a lot worse, and maybe did better."

Weiss also slammed the lockdowns. "I'm done with COVID. I'm done!" she said.

"We were told: 'You get the vaccine… You get back to normal.' And we haven't gotten back to normal, and it's ridiculous at this point. I know that so many of my liberal and progressive friends are with me on this and they do not want to say it out loud because they are scared to be called anti-vax," she said, adding, "At this point, it's a pandemic of bureaucracy."

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