Déjà vu: Ron DeSantis rallies against mask, vaccine mandates

'We will not allow the dystopian visions of paranoid hypochondriacs control our health policies, let alone our state.'

Gov. Ron DeSantis is returning to familiar territory, speaking out sharply against COVID-19 mandates and vaccines as some institutions return to mandates amid a late-summer surge in COVID-19 cases.

The DeSantis administration organized a news conference in Jacksonville that featured an array of critics of COVID-19 mandates. That included Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, as well as a Jacksonville mom who opposed local mask mandates and a Volusia County woman who said she has had serious health issues since taking a COVID-19 shot.

The news conference did break down at the end of the event when DeSantis argued with an audience member over the recent racially motivated shooting at a Jacksonville store where a White man killed three Black people. That prompted Ladapo to step in at the very end and call the shooter, who killed himself, “insane.”

But the bulk of the event allowed DeSantis to rail against COVID-19 restrictions, including ones that, he said, were promoted and pushed by members of former President Donald Trump’s administration.

DeSantis is challenging Trump for the Republican nomination for President.

“We see all this stuff. And we see that they are not following the science,” DeSantis said. “They are trying to follow a narrative. They are trying to follow an agenda. I can tell you here in Florida, we did not, and we will not allow the dystopian visions of paranoid hypochondriacs to control our health policies, let alone our state.”

COVID-19 in Florida has led to more than 90,000 deaths statewide since the pandemic began in early 2020. According to the latest Department of Health report published on Sept. 1, there has been a recent uptick in the number of cases.

Florida had nearly 24,000 reported cases the week that ended on Aug. 31. That’s up from the 7,320 cases reported in late June.

DeSantis’s resistance to lockdowns and mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic helped him become a national star among conservatives. In reaction to the pandemic, Florida passed a series of laws prohibiting mandates imposed by governments and private businesses.

Ahead of the news conference by the DeSantis administration, the Governor’s presidential campaign highlighted DeSantis’ resistance to the “Left’s new COVID mandate push.” During his campaign stops, DeSantis frequently railed against former White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci and complained that Trump should have fired Fauci.

Several schools nationwide have recently reintroduced mask mandates and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends mask-wearing when hospitalization rates are high. An Atlanta private college also recently imposed e a mask mandate.

DeSantis has previously predicted mandates would return if there were a surge in cases again. On Thursday, he said he needed to speak out because he is “seeing how people are inching toward this insanity again.”

DeSantis’ news conference came hours before the Agency for Health Care Administration was slated to discuss proposed new rules regarding mandatory masking in health care settings. The new rules will replace emergency ones already in effect.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • TJC

    September 7, 2023 at 12:02 pm

    Ah, DeSantis has got to be loving the resurgence of Covid and hoping it will make him sound relevant again. It won’t.
    He and his arse-licking sidekick Ladapo just sound like old cartoon cats chasing mice around the house for the millionth time.
    And hearing DeSantis call other people “paranoid” is so ironic, coming from the man who now says mainstream media is colluding with Trump to undermine the Governor’s campaign.
    What a sad little mess he’s made of it.

    • Dale A Arnold

      September 7, 2023 at 12:03 pm

      He is collapsing! That’s what empty suits do.. Sooner or later!

  • Dale A Arnold

    September 7, 2023 at 12:02 pm

    Anything on the insurance crisis?
    Or the surge in rent prices?
    Or auto insurance?
    Housing affordability?
    No? Nothing to say about them Ron?
    Empty culture war suit!

  • WhatNow

    September 7, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    DeSantis has become flat-out disgusting, both as a politician and as a human being in general. The state’s “surgeon general’s” (yeah, right) glowing comments on the guy’s character are just total b.s., it’s specifically his s****y character AND personality that are causing him to lose the Republican primary.

  • My Take

    September 7, 2023 at 12:39 pm

    He is truly a thoroughly disgusting indiividual.
    Even angels must hate him.

  • trump lost

    September 7, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    Florida is 12th in the country for COVID deaths per capita. Where’s California on that list? 40th!

    Follow the science, Ronnie! Your plan is killing Floridians!

  • Joe

    September 7, 2023 at 3:22 pm

    Lol, there goes Governor Pipsqueak again, always focused on the big important issues facing our nation. It’s obviously why he’s just so popular on the campaign trail these days. (Note for RepubliQan readers: he’s not)

    And he appointed “Doctor” Ladapo solely for parroting his preferred covid contrarianism, so nobody should be surprised when his yes-man bobbles his head alongside him for the press.

  • Pastor Pasta

    September 7, 2023 at 5:09 pm

    yawn… well at least his “woke” quotient in speeches has declined somewhat. The horse he’s beating isn’t just dead, it’s an unrecognizable mound of flesh at this point.

  • Rick Whitaker

    September 7, 2023 at 5:23 pm

    desantis is a scumbag (full condom), does anybody need any more adjectives for him.

  • T

    September 7, 2023 at 6:19 pm

    I’m not surprised that he isn’t taking accountable for his actions, for all the things tbh, it’s like he wants my state to burn to the ground, and that he thinks us Floridians won’t fight back.

  • Proud American

    September 11, 2023 at 12:40 am

    Ron Desantis created chaos because he’s a HUGE FAILURE! He can’t run on his policies, agenda or merit like most GOP. They can only repeat lies and hatred towards Americans. He’s a bully and is an unpatriotic scmbg and serial killer. His blatant lies cost Floridians almost 100k lives! He’s in bed with arms and fossil fuels while Florida crumbles into the Sea! He’s a big Insurance insider and watching as insurance pulls out of FL and overcharges while nit solvent! hoas tripling monthly, taxes high, he’s resentful, immoral, indecent, spiteful and hateful of both Floridians and Americans ! He’s an egocentric, sociopath like trump who will harm anyone for power. He’s against education and looking to dumb down the population asap, yet he’s ivy league educated. He’s 100% polar opposite of Christ and Christianity!

Comments are closed.


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