Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) slammed media criticism over his response to the coronavirus outbreak in his state while fielding questions alongside President Trump on Tuesday, pointing out that the Sunshine State did not need draconian orders to flatten the curve.
The establishment media strongly criticized DeSantis for taking a more measured approach to shutting down the state prior to the peak of the pandemic, but the governor suggested that naysayers should now look to the data.
“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 said.
“I mean you go from D.C., Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, you name it; Florida’s done better,” he continued, clarifying that he is 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,” he continued, adding that the tailored approach did less damage to the state overall.
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. I had construction going on, the road projects. We did it in a safe way, and we did it. I think, in a way that is probably more sustainable over the long term. So I think people can go back and look at all the criticism and then look now.
While Florida has faced challenges, hospitals are not near capacity, and they are not running low on ventilators. Quite the contrary, DeSantis said.
“We’ve 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 as of last night,” he said, adding that there are thousands of ventilators “sitting idle, unused throughout the state of Florida.”
The governor added that he will announce the state’s plan to move forward on Wednesday. The current stay-at-home order is slated to expire Thursday, April 30.
“Obviously we’ve been thinking about what we’re going to need to do, and so we’ll announce it tomorrow about the next step forward for Florida,” DeSantis said on Tuesday.
“I created a task force and I have all kinds of folks — all of the great health systems, great (doctors), business folks, elected officials,” he added. “They’ve submitted a report to me. I’m going to be reviewing that today.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Florida had 31,986 confirmed cases of the virus, 5,222 hospitalizations, and 1,171 related deaths.