On Monday, The New York Times reported on serious deficiencies in pandemic preparation at The Villages, the famous, sprawling retirement community in Central Florida where Republicans outnumber Democrats 2-to-1.
"Some steps have been taken to help slow infections. Crowds around the faux Spanish colonial buildings and fountains are smaller, theaters are closed and the bands have stopped playing," reported Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura. "Yet, residents still congregate every day without wearing masks. They turn up the volume on a radio and dance in the squares. They crowd bars where songs by Elvis Presley and Bobby Sherman play. There are picnics and water aerobics classes."
"Residents say they have not received any directions about informing the management if they get sick," continued the report. "Even if they have had the virus, most Villages residents are reluctant to talk about it. One resident declined to be interviewed because he was embarrassed after getting infected at a party."
“You can tell who is a Democrat, who is a Republican by their masks,” said Chris Stanley, who heads up the Villages Democratic Club. “It makes no sense to me that there is some sort of a magical umbrella keeping the virus at bay, particularly because people are having parties around, with houses that have six, five golf cars parked out front.”
The Villages has made headlines lately following a surge of political infighting, with Trump supporters plotting to sabotage Democratic residents' golf carts ahead of a planned rally. On Trump's birthday, GOP residents held a parade, and one man was caught shouting "White Power!" on a video that was retweeted by the president.