Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) blasted the establishment media over its stream of criticisms and dismissal of Florida’s hopeful coronavirus trends, stating bluntly that far too many reporters “waxed poetically for weeks and weeks about how Florida was going to be just like New York” — something that never happened.
“Our data is available. Our data is transparent. In fact, Dr. Birks has talked multiple times about how Florida has the absolute best data,” DeSantis, who stood alongside Vice President Mike Pence, told reporters on Wednesday.
“So any insinuation otherwise is just typical partisan narrative trying to be spun. And part of the reason is that you’ve got a lot of people in your profession who waxed poetically for weeks and weeks about how Florida was going to be just like New York,” he continued, repeating their previous claims.
“‘Wait two weeks. Florida’s going to be next. Just like Italy. Wait two weeks,'” DeSantis said. “Well hell, we’re eight weeks away from that, and it hasn’t happened.”
DeSantis added that Florida has a lower death rate compared to areas around the country, including New York, D.C., Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio.
“But even in our region — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia — Florida has the lower death rate, and I was the number one landing spot from tens of thousands of people leaving the number one hot zone in the world to come to my state,” he explained.
“So we’ve succeeded, and I think that people just don’t want to recognize it, because it challenges their narrative. It challenges their assumptions,” he added:
DeSantis says any insinuation Florida doesn't have best data is typical partisan narrative.
— WFLA NEWS (@WFLA) May 20, 2020
Establishment media outlets and Democrat politicians blasted DeSantis’s approach to addressing the pandemic in his state from the onset, warning that his refusal to immediately impose far-reaching lockdown orders would lead Florida, which has a large elderly population, to become the next U.S. hotspot, or worse, the next Italy.
DeSantis, however, quickly focused on protecting vulnerable individuals in nursing homes, almost immediately limiting those who could enter the facilities as blue states, like Pennsylvania, directed facilities to accept patients who tested positive for the virus. Since then, nearly 70 percent of coronavirus deaths in the Keystone State have been connected to nursing homes.
While DeSantis eventually issued a stay-at-home order, he largely laid the groundwork, relying on localities to enforce orders tailored specifically to their areas. He also focused on screening individuals hailing from coronavirus hotspots, installing checkpoints on major roads and implementing screenings at several Florida airports.
Florida, with a population of over 21 million, reported 47,471 positive cases of the virus and 2,096 related fatalities, as of Wednesday afternoon.
Florida hospitals, DeSantis has noted, never reached capacity, nor did they experience a shortage of ventilators.
The Sunshine State is currently in the first phase of the reopening process, with retailers, restaurants, and gyms operating at limited capacities.