Did protests drive Florida’s COVID-19 case spike? For Ron DeSantis, it’s an open question

Protests AP
Did protests kill Floridians' commitment to social distancing?

COVID-19 case rates continue to set new records daily, with massive jumps in the rate of positive diagnoses as the median age of positive tests continues to skew younger.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, addressing the media in Miami on Friday, suggested a “correlation” between protests in the weeks after the police slaying of George Floyd and the current increase in cases.

“I certainly have not had my Department of Health substantiate the claim that protests are driving the figures with younger people,” DeSantis said, adding that “obviously there’s a correlation there.”

“I do think when people see that, and let’s be clear, nothing personal against anyone here. We had months in this country when someone walked on the beach they were shamed on social media,” DeSantis said. “When the protests started happening, you had massive demonstrations of people.”

“Some of these were twenty, twenty-five thousand people. All of a sudden, the social distancing took a back seat to social justice.”

“From a public health perspective, you may think that protest is the most important thing you can do as a citizen. I respect that. But from a virus perspective gathering with 5,000 people to protest for something that’s important to you is no different than gathering with 5,000 people to do something else,” DeSantis said.

“There was a lot of mixed messages that came out, particularly from public health officials,” the Governor added. “Where they basically said we support this type of protest, but not something else.”

“People wonder why is it OK to do one thing but not others,” he continued, saying advice was “thrown out the window.”

“People got frustrated,” DeSantis said, adding that he doesn’t think they “begrudge” protesters.

“That kind of sent a message that we’re on to other things … we kind of moved on from a media perspective,” the Governor added.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Sonja Fitch

    June 19, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Obviously! You are doing and saying exactly what your goptrump cult sociopath leader trump says to do!!!! Stay home. Wash hands social distance and for the love of your family and others WEaR a MASK!

  • Frankie M.

    June 19, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    It’s cleared ronnie has moved on.org and this is a non issue with him. It doesn’t matter how many people get sick or die it’s full steam ahead. But let it be protests like they had in Michigan where people want everything to be open asap. All of a sudden Ronnie will be the biggest champion of the 1st amendment you ever saw.

    • Leslie A. Goller

      June 20, 2020 at 6:09 pm

      Sadly, likely. But even more sad is the fact that Florida’s leaders don’t learn and prevent a similar increase in infections that will be caused by an INDOOR gathering of 150,000 people who then go out In the public to restaurants, bars, hotels, etc.

Comments are closed.


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