Today, the Florida Department of Health reports more than 6700 cases of coronavirus in the Sunshine State. The Washington Post writes:
Indeed, on the covid-19 nationwide map maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of Florida just turned dark brown, the color signifying more than 5,000 cases. It’s now in the company of California, New York, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan and New Jersey as of Monday, the cutoff of CDC map data with Louisiana having crossed the 5,000 threshold Tuesday.
Of those states, however, Florida is the only one that is not under a statewide “stay-at-home” order.
But even as the cases rapidly rise, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has yet to issue a blanket stay-at-home order for the state. Tuesday, he admitted he doesn’t want to make the decision without a recommendation from The White House:
“I’m in contact with the White House task force and I’ve said, ‘Are you recommending this?’ The task force has not recommended that to me. If they do, obviously that would be something that carries a lot of weight with me. If any of those task force folks tell me that we should do X, Y or Z, of course we’re going to consider it. But nobody has said that to me thus far.”
Governors, both Republicans, and Democrats, from countless other states, have looked at the numbers, the trends, the patterns, and made the decision on their own. As the New York Times said, “Governors and state public health officials get the authority to declare an emergency from their state constitutions.” So why isn’t DeSantis taking action?
Politico’s Marc Caputo said:
He is concerned not just about the health ramifications of COVID spreading in Florida, but also concerned about the economic ramifications of shutting everything down. Now if you talk to every expert, economists who know what they’re talking about when it comes to pandemics, they say Ron DeSantis is making a false choice. That is you don’t get to choose between the two. If you don’t shut down properly, you’re going to have a bad economy anyway.
Then, as Caputo points out there are politics:
Understand that DeSantis came of age politically speaking in the era of reactionary Republican politics to President Obama. And there is instinctive mistrust of the news media and a lot of institutions, including what a lot of scientists are saying. So he’s struggling with that. I don’t want to say he’s an ideologue, he does have a democrat who is a director emergency management of the state and there is bipartisanship that is occurring. But the governor has not been persuaded yet this is necessary.
Then there is the Trump factor:
South Florida Sun-Sentinel writer Randy Schultz said:
Like Trump, DeSantis now is facing criticism for not doing more. Like Trump, DeSantis now is looking for someone to blame.
With Trump, it’s China, whose government he first praised for its handling of the outbreak. DeSantis has chosen to blame New York, the domestic epicenter, and Louisiana, where cases are rising rapidly. DeSantis blaming New York nearly caused Trump to quarantine the area.