‘Sweden was right’: Gov. DeSantis says school openings will go forward
Teachers protest as school districts consider reopening.

DeSantis claims open schools won't affect COVID-19 outcomes.

Gov. Ron DeSantis, in Jacksonville Tuesday, said that no matter what happens to the state’s positive testing rate for the novel coronavirus, schools need to reopen.

The Governor was addressing reporters after a roundtable event in the Mandarin area, where he discussed potential ways to resume visitation at long-term care facilities.

DeSantis looked to Scandinavia to make his point that whether schools open or not will make little difference in the fight against COVID-19.

“Sweden was right,” DeSantis said, noting that while Norway shut its schools down and Sweden did not, the two countries found little difference in virus transmission.

“Sweden kept it open the entire time. They didn’t have a lockdown. Sweden and Norway put out a joint statement recently saying ‘Norway shut down schools. Sweden didn’t. Guess what? Sweden was right.’ It did not increase the spread in the community.”

The Governor noted an evolution in his own thought processes, driven by limitations in data sets.

“I was religiously hyping positivity in March, April, May,” DeSantis said, describing a “change” in his mindset since.

“The problem is the way these tests are reported. Some labs don’t report the negatives religiously. Sometimes they do data dumps. I’d be very cautious to tying a child’s future to the efficacy of a private lab dumping results into the system.”

“The best indicator of prevalence in the community has been Emergency Department visits with COVID like illness.” DeSantis said.

Those emergency room visits began surging in mid-June, when “testing wasn’t even catching” the increased spread.

“I would say look at those ED visits, but also look to see if primary schools have been engines of transmission,” DeSantis said. “There’s also been studies that show people in the school system don’t have any more chance of getting infected than people in the community.”

It’s worth noting that schools have been closed since late March with only limited summer programming, leaving little evidence available to support DeSantis’ claim about primary schools being “engines of transmission.”

The Governor noted that parents “have the right to opt for distance learning for any reason,” continuing his line of thinking from recent weeks when he said that while children need schools to open, and teachers are “chomping at the bit” to get in there, that virtual options and delayed brick and mortar options are possibilities.

Pediatricians have warned that opening schools does not come without risk. Yet for DeSantis, not opening them poses a greater risk still.

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


  • Frankie M.

    August 4, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Didn’t one of these geniuses in Congress rip off the best & brightest teacher bonus plan from Scandinavia? How’d that work out? It’s good to see that positivity rates no longer matter because when we go back to school it’s gonna be like the 4th of July. By the time they get to the ER it’ll be too late. But then again that won’t matter either because the haves can keep their kids home while the have nots cannot.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 5, 2020 at 5:54 am

    Duffus Desantis challenge! Put your children in a daycare center for 5 days! Please test these little duffus Desantis children. Then idiot let’s see how your children are doing! No excuses! Plent if folks are parents the age of your children! Shut down the state!

  • pete bartolik

    August 5, 2020 at 7:41 am

    Do you not do any fact checking for your reporting? Look up the Covid19 statistics for Sweden and Norway. Sweden has a death rate 10x that of Norway but only 2x population. How can you just repeat misinformation and spin without vetting it for your readers?

    • Helena

      August 6, 2020 at 10:52 am

      I appreciate the fact that Mr. Gancarski provides consistent coverage without editorializing, which is rare. He gives people the rope and they gang themselves. You are correct and I assumed that knowledge when noting this piece. He does not need to explicitly call the governor a buffoon. That’s our job.

  • Bill Simon

    August 5, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    Sweden: 570 deaths/per million population
    US: 486 deaths/per million
    Finland: 60 deaths/per million
    Norway: 47 deaths/per million
    Now WHAT did DeSantis say???

  • The Gipper

    August 5, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    Gov. DeSantis is correct.

    Why all the fear driven comments here? And none of you have yet to note the data or age of those who died. Not children and not those in high school or college either.

    DeSantis is leading and he has been overtly vigilant and cautious about protecting Floridians, especially the elderly.

    People die every day all year long of varying causes in FL. This state has the largest population of elderly and those who are elderly or have underlying conditions are much higher risks to succumb.

    It’s time to move on with life, reboot the economy, return to school, and get people back to work. The state and natl media have not been the least bit objective, and unfortunately the upcoming Presidential election has made almost all news reporting on COVID fear based, biased, negative and political. We are acquiring herd immunity and this virus will fade out as other deadly virus’ have.

    Thank you governor for having the fortitude to speak the truth.

    • Mike Rose

      August 11, 2020 at 8:24 pm

      Agree 100%. Amazing the difference between rational thought and science based approach compared to rabid fear based nonsense. We cant contibue to destroy our economy, our children’s education, and tbeir immune systems due to irrational non-scientific, fear based propaganda. This a pharma marketing campaign that grew political legs. What a mess!

Comments are closed.


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