Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who reopened his state last autumn and kept it open throughout the winter, has given a new interview to the Epoch Times where he talks of his regret in locking down last spring and the challenges he faced reopening in the face of widespread and fierce opposition.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order on April 1st last year, locking down the Sunshine State for 30 days amid global panic about the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreak. Sitting in his office exactly one year later, he told the Epoch Times that the lockdowns were a “huge mistake,” including in his own state.
“We wanted to mitigate the damage. Now, in hindsight, the 15 days to slow the spread and the 30 – it didn’t work,” DeSantis said. “We shouldn’t have gone down that road.”
Florida’s lockdown order was notably less strict than some of the stay-at-home measures imposed in other states. Recreational activities like walking, biking, playing golf, and beachgoing were allowed, while what constituted an “essential business” was broadly defined.
“Our economy kept going,” DeSantis said. “It was much different than what you saw in some of those lockdown states.”
However, the Governor now regrets issuing the order at all and is convinced that states that have carried on with lockdowns are perpetuating a destructive blunder.
After the initial 30-day lockdown in Florida lapsed, DeSantis commenced a phased reopening. He faced fierce criticism at each stage from establishment media, as well as segments of his own constituency beholden to the lockdown narrative.
The Governor fully reopened Florida on Sept. 25th, 2020. When cases began to rise as part of the winter surge, he didn’t reimpose any restrictions. While lockdown proponents forecasted doom and gloom, DeSantis stood his ground.
The Governor’s persistence wasn’t a leap of faith. Less than two weeks after Florida’s full reopening in late September, scientists from Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford universities went public with the Great Barrington Declaration, which disavowed lockdowns as a destructive and futile mitigation measure. The declaration, which has since been signed by 13,985 medical and public health scientists, calls on public officials to adopt the focused protection approach – the exact strategy employed by DeSantis.
Despite dire predictions about the pandemic in Florida, DeSantis has been vindicated. On April 1st, Florida ranked 27th among all states in deaths per capita from the CCP virus, commonly known as COVID-19.
The ranking’s significance is amplified because the Sunshine State’s population is the sixth oldest in the United States by median age.
Politicians should have been prepared and blew it, DeSantis says, though they’re not the only ones to blame.
“You have a situation where if you’re in this field, the pandemic, that’s something that you kind of prepare for and you’re ready for,” said DeSantis. “And a lot of these people muffed it.
“When push came to shove, they advocated policies that have not worked against the virus but have been very, very destructive. They are never going to admit they were wrong about anything, unfortunately.”
Elected leaders aren’t the only ones to blame, according to the Governor. The media and big tech companies played a major role in perpetuating fears about the virus while selectively censoring one side of the mitigation debate. DeSantis said the media and tech giants stood to benefit from the lockdown as people stayed home and consumed their products.
“It was all just to generate the most clicks that they could. And so that was always trying to do the stuff that would inspire the most fear,” DeSantis said.
Well worth reading in full.