Gov. DeSantis marks 3-year pandemic anniversary with COVID-19 policy victory lap
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/7/23-Gov. Ron DeSantis during a news conference, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'We’re going to be living with the consequences for quite some time.'

The experts were wrong, I was right.

That’s the message from Gov. Ron DeSantis as he marked the three-year anniversary of the federal government’s “15 days to slow the spread” campaign that initiated the shutdown of much of the country’s economic life.

The push to reduce human contact to slow the spread of COVID-19 was an attempt by public health authorities in March 2020 to prevent rapid transmission of the respiratory disease that would soon threaten to overwhelm hospital systems throughout the country.

DeSantis acquiesced to some of those measures initially, but was often the first Governor to roll back those restrictions, making moves such as reopening restaurants and schools, pushing to neuter mask requirements and banning vaccine mandates for customers and workers.

Although the specter of COVID-19 and the initial, pre-vaccine restrictions imposed have subsided, DeSantis has repeatedly touted his response as correct and slammed the effects of the policies prescribed by public health experts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration.

“Here we are three years later and they are still clinging to some of these failed policies,” DeSantis said Thursday at an event at The Fire Restaurant in Winter Haven. He pointed to flight restrictions for foreigners entering the U.S. that require them to be vaccinated.

“It’s just important to say the experts that designed these policies and were hectoring everybody — they were wrong about almost everything,” he added.

DeSantis also initially embraced the COVID-19 vaccines, securing as much as he could from the Donald Trump administration and touting his push to get older Floridians who were most at risk from the virus vaccinated first.

But his administration has soured on vaccines since then. DeSantis has empaneled a grand jury to look into the conduct of pharmaceutical companies regarding the vaccine. Florida Surgeon General Joe Ladapo, appointed by DeSantis, has encouraged those under 40 not to get the vaccine, a recommendation at odds with the CDC.

“I don’t even care about vindication. I care about doing what’s right,” Ladapo said. “We are vindicated whether or not people want to admit that or not.”

There have been 79,282 deaths in Florida involving COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, including 55 last week, according to the CDC.

DeSantis said the non-health-related responses to the pandemic are still hurting the country as well, such as the stimulus packages passed by Congress and supply chain issues caused by volatile demand that led to rampant inflation.

“We’re going to be living with the consequences for quite some time,” DeSantis said. “I don’t see inflation going back down to 2% any time soon.”

Florida Democrats pushed back on DeSantis’ characterization of the last three years of COVID-19 policy.

“Under Ron DeSantis, Florida remains the only state in the nation not to pre-order vaccines for children under five years old. In his extreme war against vaccines, Ron DeSantis has made it harder for Florida parents to decide what’s best for their children’s health,” said Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Devon Cruz. “DeSantis’s extreme approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has left Floridians with less options to protect themselves and their children, all in the name of right-wing culture wars.”

Gray Rohrer


  • Earl Pitts American

    March 16, 2023 at 1:49 pm

    Good afternoon America,
    OMG our leftist wing nut posters here at FP are feeling their underware bunch up in their cracks as they read this article.
    Stand by for the cray cray leftist melt down.
    Bring it lefties.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

    • JD

      March 16, 2023 at 3:49 pm

      Good Afternoon America,

      GroomerGOPers are going to gloat over obvious inaccuracies in what was fact and fiction of the pandemic. Including Ronnie when you line up the dead of Covid-19 because of his policies.

      And you got to love bullying from a fictional character with an identity crisis.

      Are you trying to be Earl Pitts from the deceased Mr. Burbank and WLW or you the Spy that was tried for treason?

      It lends to your credibility of so much.

      Thank you America,

      The rest of Florida.

  • Inigo Montoya

    March 16, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    “We are vindicated whether or not people want to admit that or not.” – You use this word….I don’t think you know what it means.

  • JD

    March 16, 2023 at 3:51 pm

    86,000 DEAD doesn’t feel like your policies are vindicated Ronnie.

  • Republicans are corrupt

    March 16, 2023 at 4:14 pm

    Oh, Ron DeSantis is amazing. He knows everything there is about everything. Fact is Ron DeSantis is dangerous and he’s really for himself and the fact is that there’s a lot of people that are Republicans that voted for the guy thinking that he was their savior. Keep in mind the Republicans don’t make good decisions. They’re good at fighting culture wars but they’re never good with coming up with solutions. Look what happened to silicone valley bank. A result of what happens when The government D regulates under Trump

  • woke forever

    March 17, 2023 at 9:47 am

    What? The experts were wrong on just about everything? Who was wrong on what exactly? Covid 19 wasn’t a deadly virus? Wearing a good properly fitted mask didn’t help prevent transmission? Vaccines don’t help prevent health problems from infection? Good grief? Thanks for all those dead people Rona!

  • Ocean Joe

    March 17, 2023 at 5:33 pm

    Wasn’t Dullsantis among the first to get vaccinated?
    Aren’t the per capita death rates higher in red Florida counties?
    And isn’t Florida’s death rate among the highest in the US?
    Didn’t 7,500,000 Floridians get infected with covid?
    Didn’t our surgeon general suddenly get muzzled and replaced by a covid denier from California?
    What about the 1,000,000 doses of hydroxychloroquin, and the run on ivermectin to the point it caused a shortage for veterinarians who actually needed it?
    There was a lot of nonsense, punishing school districts for masking, snapping at high school kids because they messed up our lord’s press conference, etc.
    Doesn’t seem like a victory for anybody, let alone the 86,000 Floridians who perished.
    Like Jan 6, you guys ought to leave it alone.

  • Tropical

    March 19, 2023 at 10:47 pm

    I still don’t think that dangerous Rotund Ron is going to run. I think he is perfectly happy being the king of Florida, ruining it as fast as he can and having his lackeys’ ram his laws into place that will affect us badly for decades.
    Use your heads, Florida, watch this dangerous, selfish and very odd child.
    NOT voting has serious consequences.

Comments are closed.


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