The office of Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) is vowing to keep the Florida open as fears grow that a national lockdown could be imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus if former Vice President Joe Biden becomes president.
“Today we are back down to 4,500 [cases] and a 7.3% positivity rate,” a DeSantis spokesperson said in a statement to CBS12. “We believe yesterday’s high number was due to a large submission file and skewed the numbers for that day. The Governor will not lockdown and hurt families who can’t afford to shelter in place for 6 weeks. Especially not for a virus that has a 99.8% survival rate. One area of concern is Assisted Living Facilities. Since those over 70 face the greatest threat from [COVID] the Governor is monitoring those numbers daily and is prepared to move therapeutic and prophylactic assets to those facilities as needed.”
DeSantis shifted Florida into Phase 3 of re-opening in September, which lifted virus-related business shutdowns. The Florida governor’s office did not address whether it would comply with a federal shutdown if mandated by a President Biden.
Last Tuesday, Dr. Michael Osterholm, a member of Biden’s coronavirus task force, suggested the idea of a nationwide lockdown to stop the spread of the virus.
Osterholm told MSNBC’s Morning Joe: “In the first week of August, Neel Kashkari, the president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, and I wrote an op-ed piece in The New York Times that basically said we need to, in a sense, lock down to drive this infection level to a place where we can actually control it with testing and tracing and follow-up that way, just like the Asian countries have done. And I’m talking about everything from Australia to New Zealand, all the way right up through China, Japan. All of those countries have done it already.”
Osterholm added: “To deal with the pain and suffering economically is what we basically proposed was because the savings rate in this country has gone out of the roof, since the pandemic. We have gone from 8% to over 22%. We can borrow the money from ourselves at historically low interest rates. We can pay people to lose their job. We can pay small business. We can take care of city, state and county governments if we’re elected to do that. If Washington could get together and make that happen. That would be a very different kind of lockdown where people wouldn’t suffer, and we can get this virus under control.”
Shortly after Osterholm’s remarks, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said his state would not comply with a mandatory lockdown, calling the idea, “totally and completely beyond reasonableness.”
“We’re not going to participate in a nation-wide lockdown,” Reeves stated. “We will certainly fight that if necessary.”
On Friday, the office of South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) joined Reeves in expressing opposition to a federal lockdown or mask mandate.
A Noem spokesperson told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:“It’s a good day for freedom. Joe Biden realizes that the president doesn’t have the authority to institute a mask mandate. For that matter, neither does Governor Noem, which is why she has provided her citizens with the full scope of the science and trusted them to make the best decisions for themselves and their loved-ones.”