With all due respect, Governor, it’s not an experiment, and we know which actions are effective and which ones aren’t.
From India to Idaho, leaders across the world are ordering residents to stay home as the novel coronavirus wreaks havoc on lives, health care systems, and economies. Yet somehow Gov. DeSantis knows better than all of them, including top health officials, like Dr. Anthony Fauci and former Trump administration FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who both applauded states that have adopted statewide shutdowns.
Recently, when asked why he hasn’t imposed similar restrictions, DeSantis said he questions the most alarming forecasts. But he doesn’t need to look at modeling to know how a lackluster response to this outbreak will play out.
Unfortunately, Italy also tried to hold off on shutting down portions of the country that weren’t hot spots. That strategy didn’t last long, and now they lead the world in COVID-19 deaths.
In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempted to keep parts of the country open while advising older and more vulnerable citizens to stay home.
This week he reversed course, and the country is now locked down.
We’ve also seen examples stateside of strict mitigation measures vs. weak ones.
Kentucky took early steps to tackle the spread of the coronavirus, while Tennessee did not. Looking at per capita case numbers, Tennessee is now facing a much more significant problem in slowing down the virus.
Gov. DeSantis has justified his decisions by pointing to the ability of local governments to set their own policies. That has led to chaos across the state, with different municipalities choosing to take different measures, creating confusion among residents, and slowing down critical mitigation efforts.
In the Tampa Bay area, Mayors are pushing for more stringent steps, while county commissioners and other officials share opposing perspectives.
In the meantime, the spread of COVID-19 continues in a state with the largest 70+ population in the country.
He has also pointed to parts of the state that aren’t feeling the impact of the outbreak like South Florida currently is. However, with the testing issues we’ve seen, are we sure the virus isn’t spreading in rural communities?
Even if those areas of Florida are safe at the moment, wouldn’t it be wise to keep them that way through a statewide shutdown, so we can focus limited resources on regions that need it most?
At a time when leadership isn’t just needed but is vital to ensure the safety of Floridians, our Governor has taken a contrarian position to that of most other leaders and public health officials.
He has chosen to pass the toughest decisions along to cities and counties, as the case number skyrockets, the death toll mounts, and our massive elderly and at-risk population grows more concerned.
With lives and our state economy hanging in the balance, let’s hope Gov. DeSantis is right, and everyone else is wrong.
If not, this will go down as an all-time failure of governance in a time of crisis.
Ryan Gorman is the host of PM Tampa Bay on NewsRadio WFLA and national news host for iHeartRadio.