Gov. DeSantis comes back blazing when asked about criticism over Florida’s COVID-19 response

Screengrab Fox News

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis paid a visit to the White House on Tuesday, and came out firing when asked about criticism that he did not shut down his state quick enough in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Quick to denounce the “draconian orders” seen in some other states, the Republican governor pointed to the numbers.

“What have the results been?” Gov. DeSantis said. “You look at some of the most draconian orders that have been issued in some of these states and compare Florida in terms of our hospitalizations per 100,000, in terms of our fatalities per 100,000.”

“You go from D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, you name it. Florida has done better,” he continued.


DeSantis said he was not criticizing these states, but stressed the media projected his state to be comparable to New York or other hard-hit areas.

“Everyone in the media said Florida was going to be like New York,” he said.

“And that has not happened because we understood we have a big, diverse state, we understood the outbreak was not uniform throughout the state, and we had a tailored and measured approach that not only helped our numbers be way below what anyone predicted but also did less damage to our state going forward,” DeSantis said.

The governor added that he had construction and road projects going on throughout the crisis, pointing out that it was being done in a safe way

“I think people can go back and look at all the criticism and then look now, and nobody predicted that Florida was — we have challenges, it’s not an easy situation. We have had people in the hospital, but I’m now in a situation where I have less than 500 people in a state of 22 million on ventilators.”

DeSantis added that the state currently has 6,500 idle ventilators.

Florida has had 32,846 cases of COVID-19, with 1,171 deaths, as of Tuesday morning, while New York has had 292,000 cases and 17,303 deaths.

The Sunshine State has a population of 21.4 million, compared to New York’s 19.4 million.

The biggest challenge Florida has faced is an overwhelmed unemployment system, with nearly 2 million claims having been submitted.

Poised to start moving forward, DeSantis said the state will continue to focus on at-risk populations — the governor repeated this theme in a tweet highlighting his visit with President Trump.

He tweeted: “Great meeting with President [Trump] at the @WhiteHouse discussing all things #COVID19 and FL’s strong efforts to protect vulnerable populations & to expand testing in an innovative way. @POTUS & his administration have provided great support for FL each step of the way.”

Having recently given the green light for some beaches and parks to reopen, if it can be done safely, DeSantis said he’s considering easing other lockdown restrictions in the coming days and weeks.


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