Ron DeSantis Addresses Omicron Surge in Florida: Other States ‘Letting Hysteria Drive Them’

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, speaks at a news conference alongside Fla. Rep. Tom Fabricio, left, Fla. Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller, center rear, and Broward County, Fla., Mayor Michael Udine, right, Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, at Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo …
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Other states are allowing coronavirus “hysteria to drive them,” leading to damaging policy in the wake of the omicron variant of the virus, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Monday, noting that “ICU COVID utilization” in Florida is likely the “lowest per capita in the country.”

Other states are “letting hysteria drive them to doing really damaging things,” DeSantis said as he spoke from the Broward Health Medical Center Auditorium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, noting they are closing schools and “doing things that should not be done.”

“That is not the way you deal with this. And so, we are 100 percent committed to making sure that people are able to live their lives,” he explained, adding that it is “nonnegotiable.”

Patrons pack a bar to have drinks on the first day of full capacity seating is allowed on September 25, 2020 in Tampa, Florida. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis allows bars and restaurants to enter Phase 3 amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

Octavio Jones/Getty Images

“That is a road — they’re just never going to be able to get out of that rut…and it ain’t going to do anything to slow down or to stop an incredibly contagious, airborne virus. I mean, come on,” he said before citing data from Miami’s Jackson Health System, which began putting out data distinguishing people who are coronavirus positive in the hospital, determining whether they are there for virus treatment or something else. They have estimated that half of their coronavirus-positive patients in the system are not being treated for the virus itself.

DeSantis said:

I think that’s an important distinction to make when you have a variant like omicron, which is much more widespread. You are going to have people who get in a car accident, go into the emergency room. they’re swabbing everybody. You’re going to have people who have incidental positives. They’ve anticipated about half of their COVID positive patients within their system are not being treated for COVID, and I think you’re likely to see bigger percentages in that regard than we’ve seen throughout the pandemic.

While the governor said the state has seen increases in cases, he added, “I think our ICU COVID utilization is the lowest per capita in the country right now, it has gone up like everything has since November.”

“But looking to see who is being admitted for COVID versus who is being admitted with COVID is going to be important to really chart the severity of what we’re seeing, and we do think the most severe cases are still the delta variant,” he added.

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