Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is defending his decision to wait until April to shut down Florida amid the coronavirus outbreak.
On Tuesday, DeSantis met with President Donald Trump at the White House. During their meeting, he was asked about the criticism he’s received for delaying the shut down of the state.
Unlike most states that opted for early action, Florida was one of the only states that had over 5,000 confirmed coronavirus cases before DeSantis took action to shut down on April 3.
However, he quickly fired back in defense of his decision arguing that Florida has done better than states with “draconian” orders.
“What have the results been? 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.”
He went on to name multiple states he claims have done worse than Florida.
“I mean, you go from D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois… you name it… Florida’s done better,” DeSantis said.
See DeSantis’ remarks below:
He added, “And I’m not criticizing those states but everyone in the media was saying Florida was going to be like New York or Italy and that has not happened because we understood we have a big, diverse state.”
DeSantis insists his state opted to implement more measured guidelines based on areas as opposed to relying on a “one-size-fits-all” model. According to DeSantis, his state will likely see less damage going forward because of the route he decided to take.
“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 that also did less damage to our state, going forward.”
He also challenged those who scrutinized his decision to “go back and look at all the criticism and then look now.”
Despite DeSantis’ arguments, he is still being urged him to proceed with caution reopening the state.
Thousands of Floridians could die if Gov. DeSantis relaxes the state's lockdown rules early. That's according to models put together by Harvard and MIT researchers for The Daily Beast. https://t.co/u20wIfpmmG pic.twitter.com/KBciBcg5wg— Noah Shachtman (@NoahShachtman) April 28, 2020
DeSantis has said that he will be announcing on Wednesday what the state’s reopening plan will look like.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Florida has more than 32,500 coronavirus cases, statewide, with 21,000 of those cases in South Florida. The Southern region of Florida is still considered one of the top hotspots in the United States.