Gov. DeSantis defends President’s statement that 99% of virus cases are ‘totally harmless’
Image via AP.

trump deSantis
Trump and DeSantis agree, cases are not as severe.

“I’m not sure exactly what he meant.”

Those were the words Gov. Ron DeSantis used to initially distance himself from the President’s claim that “99% of [COVID-19 cases] are totally harmless.”

But by the time he finished his trademark circuitous locution Monday in the Villages, the Governor had found his way, again, to agree with his primary political patron, President Donald Trump, making the case that the latest surge isn’t leading to worst-case clinical outcomes.

DeSantis, addressing reporters after a press conference on coronavirus response, softened his initial expression of confusion with an extended narrative of Florida’s experience with the novel coronavirus.

The Governor noted that Florida’s “case fatality rate was under 2%,” a number that didn’t jibe with the President’s assertion.

He added that “if you don’t die, some people have nasty illnesses and hospital stays. We shouldn’t minimize that,” before finding a way to perhaps contextualize the President’s statement.

“If you look at the infections on top of the cases, which may be ten times as many, the rate of lethality is much lower in an infection fatality rate than a case fatality rate.”

The good news continued, with the Governor returning to a familiar talking point.

“Those testing positive at the highest rates in Florida, those 20 year old and the 30 …  by and large, they’re presenting very mild, very asymptomatically. And that’s a good thing.”

“It’s a good thing in terms of the health outcomes,” DeSantis said, “but it makes it harder to stop the spread.”

While not “minimizing” those outcomes, DeSantis urged the proper perspective.

“We went into this and there were people saying a 20 year old is just as at risk as a 90 year old, and that’s just not true.”

“We know where the risk is … we know who the co-morbidities are impacted,” DeSantis said, again adding that “I don’t think he was trying to minimize it.”

Also not minimized: Florida’s case count itself.

The state continues to add cases at a healthy clip, with more than 6,300 cases recorded Sunday pushing the state over 206,000 total. On Sunday, a full 15% of test results came back positive.

A.G. Gancarski

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


  • Ward Posey

    July 6, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Guy is a pusillanimous, amoeba brained idiot. Do us all a favor Ron, shoot yourself.

  • Sonja Fitch

    July 6, 2020 at 5:42 pm

    The duffus Desantis news conference was blah blah young folks blah blah. He looked liked he had slept in his clothes. His hair was greasy looking! Hope that appearance was so we think hims working for Floridians! Didn’t fool anyone duffus Desantis you are up the traitor trumps butt!

  • BlueHeron

    July 7, 2020 at 12:28 am

    I don’t know why I continue to be surprised by DeSantis and his callous indifference towards COVID and what it is doing to the citizens of Florida as well as those who visit.
    We do have a problem in Florida and it’s a big one.

    Quoting The Miami Herald today “It took three months, from early March to June 22, for Florida to cross 100,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. It took less than TWO WEEKS for the state to go from 100,000 to 200,000 cases…” FACTS – look it up.
    Yet DeSantis says today that “there’s no need to be fearful about COVID-19” and he agrees with his mentor that 99% of this is harmless. Not sure if he said that we have to just “live with it” as has been suggested by POTUS.

    He keeps going on and on about the “young people and they’re only asymptomatic”. Doesn’t he understand that 1) they are highly contagious and will infect a great many people and 2) if he looks around the country at only the reddest of states, these young people that he blows off are now presenting to ED’s with symptoms perhaps slightly different but in many cases are bad enough to warrant hospitalization. They, too, are among the death count. When children and young people who are “not sick” are scanned, they are seeing things such as lung damage. Something that can’t be fixed.

    It’s not just about how many dead bodies we are seeing now. It’s also about available beds and the staff required to manage each bed. Every night, we see medical professionals from all over the state telling people what they are up against. What they are seeing, what they need, steps that must be taken.

    Let’s drill down locally to my county. West coast of FL. Densely populated,3 major beaches, major tourist destination for people all over the state, country and world. I saw the REAL #’s today from my county health dept. I was horrified by not only the #’s and % rates but the status of our local hospitals (not great), rates of death in our care facilities which are not just populated by old people. Pick a metric, I’ve got the numbers.
    It is not under control. Not even close. Our curve is way up and to the right.

    News outlets such as The Miami Herald thankfully have the cahones to really dig deep and to put the data and reporting front page and above the fold.I do see some coverage in print media here but with our local stations it is a 2 min mention and then they move on.

    I believe that people would really be taking this more seriously if they knew what was going on around them. So close. Too close.

    It’s a horror to see that good leadership is missing at the Federal, State and, in some areas, at the local level.

    Be smart and stay safe everyone.

  • Carol

    July 7, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    Dr.Fauci said today that focusing on the lower mortality rate is a “false narrative”. He said there still are a lot of “dangerous” things about this virus. Who are you going to believe, Dr. Fauci or DeSantis? I believe the medical expert.

    I am so weary of the gaslighting from both Trump and DeSantis. I am all for MAGA – Make America Gaslighting-free Again. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Comments are closed.


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