New York State, which has embraced some of the most stringent coronavirus restrictions in the country over the past year, has reported more cases both per capita and in overall number than Florida, which has faced backlash from establishment media outlets and pro-lockdown politicians for its coronavirus policies, allowing businesses to operate and abstaining from a statewide mask mandate.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) March 11 data, Florida reported 152.8 new cases of the virus per 100,000 in the last seven days alone, or 32,823 cases total. The CDC excludes New York City from New York State’s data. Even so, the state, excluding New York City, has reported 208.6 cases per 100,000 in the last seven days, or 23,056 total. Separately, New York City has reported 314.5 new cases per 100,000 in the last seven days, or 26,410 cases total. Combined, New York State has reported over 16,600 more cases than Florida in the last seven days alone, despite maintaing a statewide mask mandate and other restrictions.
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), meanwhile, came under fire last year after refusing to impose a statewide mask mandate and announcing the reopening of his state in September, pushing it into the third phase of the reopening process.
“We’re also saying everybody has an opportunity and a right to work. Every business has the right to operate. Some of the locals may be able to — they can do reasonable regulations, but they can’t just say no. You can’t say no after six months and just have people twisting in the wind,” DeSantis said at the time.
At the time, DeSantis also suspended outstanding mask-related fines and penalties.
On Wednesday, the governor signed an executive order canceling local coronavirus fines imposed between March 1, 2020, and March 10, 2021, citing the “unprecedented local government restrictions imposed on individuals and businesses over the course of the last year.”
New York continues to operate under various coronavirus restrictions. On Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), who faces dueling scandals rocking his administration, announced domestic travelers will no longer have to quarantine after arriving in the state, effective April 1.
Florida, meanwhile, has continued to serve as a model to other states in their reopening process — something DeSantis noted during this month’s State of the State address.
“There are not a whole lot of Floridians who are itching to move from Florida to lockdown states, but there are thousands and thousands of people who are seeking to leave the lockdowns behind for the greener pastures in Florida,” DeSantis said.
“We have long been known as the Sunshine State — but, given the unprecedented lockdowns we have witnessed in other states, I think the Florida sun now serves as a beacon of light to those who yearn for freedom,” the Republican governor added.