With all the criticism nationwide about Gov. Ron DeSantis “hesitating” to lockdown Florida — the nation’s third-largest state — for the coronavirus crisis, there is one angle rarely heard among all the chatter.
DeSantis just might be right.
Take, for example, the state of New York. As the Daily Mail of London reports, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted Thursday: “It was not the best strategy to quarantine all of New York at once” to battle coronavirus.
The extreme move not only “shut down the economy,” but also put young people and older relatives together — potentially exposing them to COVID-19, he said. “I don’t even know that was the best public health strategy.”
Cuomo also acknowledged a better way would have been to develop a test that identifies coronavirus antibodies in a healthy person who has self-recovered, clearing them to go back to work.
This revelation makes DeSantis’ “hesitation” sound less like vacillation and more like pulling an inside straight in poker; the odds are low, but when you hit it — boy, does it pay off.
There is more hope on the horizon to buttress DeSantis’s position, suggesting the Governor could indeed pull off this inside straight.
With coronavirus in the U.K., New Scientist reports that epidemiologist Neil Ferguson is advising the British government that the country can indeed cope with COVID-19 as it stands now, adding that there will be enough intensive care beds to handle the crisis. Since a vaccine is about 12-18 months away, Ferguson said it is impractical to keep the U.K. on lockdown for that long; testing capacity will be available “in a few weeks.”
The U.S. could also see a coronavirus peak in about two to three weeks, according to the University of Florida epidemiologist Dr. Ira Longini. This timetable echoes President Donald Trump’s target to relax coronavirus constraints. Longini is a biostatistics professor and co-director at the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute’s Center for Statistics and Quantitative Infectious Diseases.
As reported by The Center Square: “By mid-April, ‘most of the damage will be done’ and it may be possible to isolate the vulnerable better while allowing those less at-risk to return to work and schools,” Longini said.
This somewhat uplifting prediction is not without precedent since Longini bases it on his work analyzing Ebola, influenza, HIV, tuberculosis, cholera, dengue fever, Zika, malaria and plague for the World Health Organization (WHO).
Of course, we are not out of the woods yet. But there are signs that DeSantis’ prudence in resisting the urge to completely lock down the state of Florida — contrary to everyone else — could pay off big time.