Gov. Ron DeSantis has been criticized by Democrats around the state in recent days for his cautious response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Specifically, they’ve blasted his decision to not issue a stay-at-home order.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is now weighing in, saying Floridians deserve “science-based action” from their Governor.
The latest update from the Department of Health shows Florida has 1,467 positive cases of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. So far, 20 people have died.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee blasted President Donald Trump and his administration and DeSantis in a statement Wednesday citing a lack of leadership and then praised Governors like Andrew Cuomo of New York and Mike DeWine of Ohio for “stepping up during this time of crisis to fill the void and protect our most vulnerable.” Cuomo and DeWine, who is a Republican, have both issued stay-at-home orders, in contrast to DeSantis who has declined to do so.
California, West Virginia, Louisiana, Wisconsin and Illinois are some of the states that have taken similar steps.
DeSantis has said there’s always going to be people who won’t comply. And he says he is working with communities across Florida to impose their own restrictions. Several localities around the state are imposing stay-home orders and curfews. He has mandated the closure of bars, restaurants, gyms and prohibited large gatherings. He’s also ordered travelers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to get screened when arriving in Florida and self-isolate for 14 days.
“You simply cannot lock down our society with no end in sight,’’ he said.
Biden demanded in his statement that DeSantis “let the experts speak to the public and explain why” the state isn’t taking the same actions as other states. A number of public health experts say a temporary, short-term, stay-home order could prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus before the number of seriously ill Floridians overwhelms the healthcare system.
Biden says in a statement that the stakes are too high to wait any longer.
“In this moment of growing uncertainty and anxiety, Floridians want — and deserve — to hear from the public health officials leading the charge,” he said. “ To get through this, we need our leaders to listen to the public health experts and their guidance.”
Biden has released a plan to combat the pandemic. Some aspects include free testing, eliminating cost barriers to preventative care and treatment, emergency paid leave, and help for small businesses.