Ten of Florida’s congressional Democrats sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis Wednesday urging him to shut down the state to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
The letter, led by Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton, asks DeSantis to issue a shelter-in-place order for the entire state.
“We are concerned that you have not yet joined many other states with ongoing community spread that have issued statewide shelter-in-place orders to protect their residents and their health care systems. We urge you to take this action in Florida in response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” the Democrats wrote. “The Florida Department of Health has confirmed over 1,400 cases in our state and 20 people have died. Without an FDA-approved vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 our already-strained health care system could be overwhelmed. That is why we need a statewide order as soon as possible.”
In addition to Deutch, the letter was signed by Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell of Miami, Alcee Hastings of Palm Beach Gardens, Frederica Wilson of Miami Gardens, Donna Shalala of Miami, Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach, Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Darren Soto of Kissimmee, and Val Demings of Orlando.
DeSantis has repeatedly declined recommendations to lock down the entire state, contending that Florida’s outbreaks are geographically isolated and such orders are better handled locally. Many counties and cities have issued such orders, most recently Orange County, where a stay-at-home order goes into effect Thursday night for 1.3 million people.
The Democrats pointed to the states where Governors have issued stay-at-home orders: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Of the 10 states with the most confirmed cases in America, only Florida and Georgia do not have statewide stay-at-home orders.
With the highest concentration of older residents of any state, Florida is at even greater risk of serious impacts on the health of our residents and burden on our health care system, the Democrats contend.