Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis touted his state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic this week by pointing out that the curve appears to be flattening without “draconian orders” like other states have implemented.
During an interview Wednesday night with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, DeSantis provided details on how his state went from being considered high-risk in the coronavirus pandemic to flattening the curve.
“People were predicting us to be worse than New York, like another Italy,” DeSantis said. “They said that this week, one of the newspapers in Florida said we would have 464,000 people hospitalized. The actual number is 2,200. So we beat that by 462,000. But what we did very early was focus on the populations who are most at risk: Our senior citizens, and particularly our nursing homes and assisted living facilities.”
“We instituted screening for all staff immediately, we stopped visitation, we required all staff to wear N95 masks,” DeSantis continued. “I charged the National Guard with doing strike teams and spot testing at the facility to try to figure out if any of the staff are asymptomatic. Whenever there was an incident at a nursing home, we send these quick response teams to go and try to limit some infections … We’ve put out almost six million masks just to our nursing homes and assisted living facilities and so we understood the risk that this posed to the senior population.”
“We worked with The Villages constructively on social distancing and here’s the thing, you don’t have to be draconian,” DeSantis said in an apparent shot at Democrat governors who have used the pandemic to implement overreaching policies. “At The Villages, they’re playing golf just like they always do, but they’re doing it with social distancing. So, they don’t share a cart with anyone and they don’t touch the flag stick and they’ve ended up doing very well.”
DeSantis also highlighted praised that he received from President Donald Trump earlier in the week on Twitter when Trump wrote: “Congratulations to all of my many friends at The Villages in Florida on having done so well, and with such great spirit, during these rather unusual times. So proud of everyone! Mark Morse & Gary Lester have really stepped up to the plate. Hope to see everyone soon.”
Here’s the tweet DeSantis was referring to:
“I think it’s been a team effort here in Florida,” DeSantis said.” We’ve got great public health people here at the county level, we’ve worked very good with the local governments as well, and we still have more work to do. But clearly, we have done way better than all the experts said we would and I think we did it by a data-driven approach.”
Hannity highlighted how DeSantis’s message to his residents has been different than the messages that a lot of other governors have given to their residents.
“People would play golf with social distancing, would fish, while maintaining social distancing and I think that’s healthy,” DeSantis added. “People sitting inside all day eating Cheetos and watching Netflix … that’s not great. I think we’ve respected people, I think we did it the right way and I think it’s paid off. These draconian orders I don’t think have worked throughout the country.”
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