Joe Biden slams Ron DeSantis’ response to coronavirus outbreak

Joe Biden
Biden criticized DeSantis' lack of leadership and failure to issue a stay-at-home order.

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. 

Sarah Mueller

Sarah Mueller has extensive experience covering public policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010. She began her career covering local government in Texas, Georgia and Colorado. She returned to school in 2016 to earn a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting. Since then, she’s worked in public radio covering state politics in Illinois, Florida and Delaware. If you'd like to contact her, send an email to [email protected]


  • Ray Blacklidge

    March 25, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Biden is just trying to use a crisis to rally his party. Florida, yes we are handling the pandemic better than our brethren in New York.
    Florida added 240 new cases (now 1,467,) no new counties reported positive cases (still at 46,) and two deaths (now at 20). An additional 1,081 tests were administered yesterday as well. Our research team did some quick comparisons, and New York City has an approximate positive coronavirus rate of one in every 539 residents, while Miami-Dade County has a positive rate of one in 7,500 residents, the state of Florida has a positive rate of one in 14,500, and Leon County (Tallahassee area) has a positive rate of one in every 36,500 residents.

  • Florida Man

    March 25, 2020 at 10:55 am

    21 counties have no cases. Why should they have their economies destroyed right now? Really disappointed in Biden for doing this, he seemed like the sanest of the candidates (and certainly compared to Trump). He needs to focus on national issues.

  • Michael O'Rourke

    March 25, 2020 at 11:19 am

    It is so easy for someone who is not in office to criticize one who is. Joe Biden is part of the club that will bad mouth ANYTHING that the opposing party does. When that is the process are we getting valuable information or just political posturing? It seems to me that the national Democrats are more interested in getting into office than creating a sound plan to keep Americans safe and keep our economy going. Everything the Democrats suggest leads to the economic collapse of our nation.

    It is clear that Joe Biden is one of the highly vulnerable citizens that should be concerned with the virus. Unfortunately, citizens who are not so fortunate as him are in lock down living. Those citizens of Florida’s elderly community living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities are already in lock down. They are not allowed to have visitors and are stuck inside with no outside access.

    The economic impact on the state of Florida has been devastating, yet the Democrats’ answer is to fill an emergency economic relief bill with funding pet for environmental project and punitive corporate obstacles. The Republicans have already restricted the use of corporate funds to companies that are experiencing mass layoffs. The emergency bill should not include abortion funding, green new deal priorities or or caps on corporate salaries, all items that the Democrats tried to stuff into the emergency relief bill.

    So, when Joe Biden speaks on a the topic of Covid 19, maybe he should ask Governor Cuomo why he’s letting New Yorker’s in the epicenter of new US infections to travel to Florida? Oh! I see. That’s how Democrats interpret stay-at-home. Politics over safety that’s the Democrat way. It’s disgraceful.

    And by the way Joe, the Florida county with the most confirmed infections has already issued a stay-at-home order. Other counties are ready to follow if needed.

    • Rob

      March 25, 2020 at 12:13 pm

      I agree 100% with every thing you wrote. If Biden was in charge at this moment in time. the only thing that would be going different would be. a pharmaceutical company would already have a huge government contract to supply antiviral medications and test kits even if it wouldn’t be for 12-18 months from now. And his son hunter would be on the broad of that company making millions more$$$. And your right old uncle joe is in the most affected age demographic for this virus. And it would be major karma if he would contract this virus and die. After he told a entire town in Iowa that he hopes they die and everyone that thinks like them die. So hang in there Bernie karma is real and there is a chance. I probably won’t vote for you either come November. But I’m just a dumb superstitious redneck.

  • Paula

    March 25, 2020 at 11:21 am

    Need to shut down short-term rentals until this crisis passes. Many other places have done so. Prudent step to take.

  • Shae

    March 25, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Look, I’m a small brick and mortar retail business owner and my business may not survive a lock down for very long. Furthermore, we are not in a location, thank God, that has seen an outbreak and we are in a location hit hard by Michael only a year and a half ago. There are some who say that if we follow his lead on this, the idea is that we should all be fine. And, who’s to say? He MIGHT even be right….
    But, Gov. DeSantis has effectively left it up to local officials to act with their consciences instead of stepping up to the plate and acting, himself. And, with regards to those counties who have not been given clear direction from someone farther up the totem pole, those officials are telling business owners like myself that it is being left up to us to make a decision whether we close or not.
    I have personally decided to close. I just don’t feel it is worth the risk. I will pray that this all works and my business survives it. In the meantime, until a stay at home order is given, I will do my business, basically, by showing my items online and asking locals to call me and make an appointment, should they wish to purchase something. This should vastly limit the number of people that come through the door.
    But, without a mandate, what you have is thousands of business owners like myself wrestling with their conscience vs their pocket books. Each one will have a different opinion on the matter. A different idea of what will be best for themselves, their families and their community at large. The trouble is, all this difference of opinion will do nothing to stem the tide of the virus. Nor will it help calm the fear and confusion in the populous.
    Floridians need action. I think the vast majority of us really want to do our part and make sure this thing doesn’t spin out of control. Yes, the Florida economy is struggling. And I know very well that it can get worse. But, a two week order to stay put will not kill our resolve to stand back up again when it is over. Please… take action so that we can all get back to business as usual as soon as possible.

    PS: This is not a partisan decision for me

  • Sonja Fitch

    March 26, 2020 at 7:06 am

    Desantis does it hurt to be as stupid and immature as you are? Step up shut it down

Comments are closed.


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