COVID-19 is making what could be called a comeback in Florida, with positive tests piling up. But Sen. Rick Scott says reopening needs to happen regardless.
“I talk to Floridians every day. They want to get back to their jobs. They want to do this safely,” Scott said on the Fox News Channel Tuesday.
“As I go around our state,” Scott said from D.C., “people are wearing their masks. They’re social distancing. And they’re getting their businesses open again.”
“I think people know there’s a risk of coronavirus,” Scott said. “And they’re working to do everything they want to do as safely as possible, whether it’s going to work, opening up their business, going to church, they want to do it as safely as possible.”
“That’s what’s going to happen in our state. We’re going to reopen our state and reopen our economy,” the Senator added. “We cannot keep our economy closed forever.”
The Senator, who served for eight years as Governor, did not mention conversations with Gov. Ron DeSantis or any currently elected state officials about the subject.
The strained relationship between the past and present Republican Governors notwithstanding, Scott’s big-picture endorsement of the state ramping up reopening comes at a pivotal time, with Florida’s COVID-19 case count increasing.
State COVID-19 data released Tuesday morning showed a record number of new diagnoses on Monday.
Nearly 3,100 have died from COVID-19, with 55 on Tuesday, raising the death toll to 3,085. And 12,489 people have been hospitalized, 474 more hospitalizations than reported Monday.
With the Republican National Convention coming to Florida, Republicans can be expected to walk the line on case data. However, as new records are set, it is inevitable that more questions will be asked, including from traditionally friendly conservative media outlets.
Further complicating Scott’s initial claim: polling data showing ambivalence about reopening. A Florida Politics Influencer Poll showed a net +7 in favor of reopening, 45% supportive compared to 38% against.
Republicans, as a rule, were more ready to reopen than Democrats.
Democrats, by a 66% to 18% margin, wanted to slow down. Republicans felt the opposite, with 65% preferring to stay the course.