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‘You can’t kneecap your own society’: Gov. Ron DeSantis defends reopening amid pandemic

The Governor touched on the topic of schools and nursing homes.

Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke frankly on Sunday in defense of his decision to reopen the Sunshine State amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wanted society to function,” DeSantis said on the Life, Liberty & Levin talk show. “You can’t burn down the village in order to save it. You can’t kneecap your own society and think you’re going to successfully handle a pandemic.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, the first-term Governor has faced sharp criticism for his handling of the pandemic, particularly in regard to schools.

Florida schools and universities closed in March as the COVID-19 pandemic began to grip the state. In July, however, DeSantis and Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran ordered schools to reopen, arguing it was critical that children return to classrooms to minimize the learning gap.

The push to reopen drew a lawsuit that alleged the order violated the state’s constitutional requirement for “safe” and “secure” public education. That lawsuit was later decided in favor of the state.

“The people who say we should not have kids in school are the flat earthers of our day,” DeSantis told Levin. “There’s no scientific basis at this point to not have in-person instruction. We know that this is less dangerous for school aged kids than seasonal influenza. We also know for whatever reason that school aged kids are not significant vectors of spreading of the disease.”

He added that prolonged school closures threatened to cause “catastrophic damage to the development of a lot of our youth.”

Florida in September transitioned into Phase Three of the Governor’s plan for state recovery. The order, among other things, lifts all COVID-19 state-level restrictions and preempts local governments’ ability to close businesses and assess fines on individuals.

DeSantis told Levin that three of his COVID-19 priorities include protecting the elderly and vulnerable, managing the hospital system and maintaining a functioning society.

Florida last month also opened the door for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to allow families to visit their loved ones, who for months had been isolated from guests.

“The odd thing is that since we’ve done that, the cases in the nursing homes have gone down dramatically,” DeSantis said on FOX. “And I think part of the reason is because I think the staff performs better when the families are able to come in.”

According to the Agency for Healthcare Administration, there are 691 licensed nursing homes in Florida representing approximately 84,448 beds.

Written By

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capital for Florida Politics. After a stint with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studied American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. Throw him a line at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Ron Ogden

    October 12, 2020 at 6:46 am

    Opening shot in Ron DeSantis’ campaign to succeed Trump in 2024. Did a good job. It’s 2024 and DeSantis is competing against Crist for the job. Hah! A leader versus a huckster.

  2. James Robert Miles

    October 12, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    DeSatan is the ultimate Trump butt kisser. As a result of the poor handling of the Trump virus, many more Floridians will die as the second wave has started. A leader he isn’t, not by a long shot!! Desatan for President, yeah right. LOL!!

  3. Sonja Fitch

    October 12, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    Smf comparing death and destroyed health as fin kneecap! Duffus Desantis please be sure and hug goptrump cult leader Trump! Please take those trumpvirus boogers home and to the office ! May god have mercy on your rotten soul Desantis!

  4. Patrick Henry

    October 13, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Ron comparing Charlie Crist, the serial opportunist, who as a sitting governor had to switch parties during his US Senate bid because he was trounced by 21 points by now Senator Rubio?

    Crist is a leader in photo ops that’s about it.

    DeSantis makes decisions for FL based on the facts not a national narrative. New York has triple the deaths from COVID we’ve had with much less population.

    DeSantis has done a great job in FL.

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