Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Calls Special Legislative Session to Defeat Vaccine Mandates

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (pictured) has called a special legislative session in which lawmakers will try to effectively outlaw vaccine mandates (whether they are imposed by private businesses or local governments) throughout the state. In particular, the session will likely revolve around the discussion of four bills that would increase the fines on companies and government agencies which introduce mandatory vaccination measures. The Guardian has more.

The special legislative session will be about “a combination of policy and politics”, said Aubrey Jewett, a Political Science Professor at the University of Central Florida, adding that DeSantis is following Trump’s lead in being staunchly against mask and vaccine mandates.

According to an agenda released by the Governor’s office, a body of legislators dominated by Republicans will consider four bills to impose penalties on businesses and local governments that require workers to be vaccinated against Covid.

“No cop, no firefighter, no nurse, nobody should be losing their job because of these jabs,” DeSantis said in a media release, echoing a previous plea for first responders from other states to relocate to Florida if they do not wish to be vaccinated by mandate.

“We’re going to be striking a blow for freedom,” DeSantis said.

Resistance to vaccine mandates and other public health measures to combat Covid has spread in Republican states and among Republican politicians using it to buttress their pro-Trump bona fides and attack the Biden administration.

By Sunday, the U.S. had recorded nearly 763,000 deaths from Covid, out of more than 47 million cases. Florida has recorded the third-highest state death toll, with more than 62,600, behind only California and Texas. Around 58% of the population is fully vaccinated.

On Friday, a conservative federal court in New Orleans refused to lift a stay it imposed on a Biden administration rule which says businesses with 100 or more employees must insist on vaccinations or masks and regular testing from January 4th.

The administration has said it is confident the rule is legal and will ultimately prevail.

DeSantis has railed against vaccine mandates but is vaccinated himself, according to media reports.

Worth reading in full.

Florida’s Delta Surge Slows Towards a Peak

Florida’s Delta surge appears to be peaking. The chart below (from this very useful site) shows that, as of the week ending August 12th, the weekly increase in the percentage of Covid tests coming back positive has slowed almost to zero, meaning it should begin to drop soon. Indeed, the positive rate and new reported cases have already begun to fall in the north east of the state.

Since Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has refused to impose any new restrictions at all during this surge, having allowed the state of emergency to end in June, the Sunshine State looks set to confirm once again that coronavirus surges are self-limiting and it is not necessary to impose draconian restrictions on the population to prevent hospitals being overwhelmed or ‘hundreds of thousands’ of deaths.

Having had a very low infection rate throughout the spring despite imposing no restrictions, Florida has seen a large surge in infections during the summer since the arrival of the Delta variant, adding to evidence that surges are primarily driven by new variants which disrupt the previously established herd immunity by partially evading the immune response. The end of the surge after a few weeks of renewed spread therefore corresponds to the restoration of herd immunity. If this is correct, we should see new infections drop quickly across the state in the coming weeks.

Governor Ron DeSantis Stands Firm Against Lockdowns as Covid Surges in Florida

The summer surge, driven by the Delta variant, is now underway in America, including reopened states like Florida, Texas, Mississippi and Georgia.

It is very welcome, therefore, to see Florida Governor Ron DeSantis standing firm against those calling on him to impose restrictions. He said:

If anyone is calling for lockdowns, you’re not getting that done in Florida. I’m going to protect people’s livelihoods. I’m going to protect kids’ rights to go to school. I’m going to protect people’s right to run their small businesses. …

We’re going to lift people up, We’re not locking people down.

22,000 People Gather in Florida for First Live Music Festival Since Covid

No vaccine passports (they’re banned), no tests, no masks, no distancing – 22,000 people packed together for an outdoor live music event in Florida. Freedom-loving Governor Ron DeSantis showed up and was treated to a hero’s welcome. The Capitolist has the story – though there was notably little coverage of this milestone in pandemic recovery elsewhere.

Video from this weekend’s Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam shows the governor emerging out of the smoke on the concert venue’s runway as “Crazy Train” blares and roughly 22,000 country music fans erupt into thunderous applause. He throws his arms in the air, encouraging the crowd even more, clearly enjoying the experience.

“Amazing,” a man backstage is heard on a video saying as DeSantis takes the stage, “that guy’s a rock star.”

DeSantis made a surprise appearance to the concert last night to welcome country music fans to Panama City Beach and thank them for attending what is believed to be the first major live music festival event since Covid.

The Panama City Beach 2021 Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam three-day event did not require masks and featured headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brad Paisley and Luke Bryan. It was originally slated to occur last Labor Day weekend but was postponed because of the pandemic.

The festival is just the latest example of Florida’s determination to get life back to normal.

During DeSantis’ brief remarks he encouraged other states and countries to follow Florida’s lead and open back up and “let people live their lives.” The crowd roared when he said the reason Florida was hosting the event was because “Florida chose Freedom over Faucism.”

While the U.K. dithers about whether to take a step closer to normal later this month, Florida ended all restrictions eight months ago in September 2020 and went through the winter without lockdowns or mask mandates. But no public health disaster unfolded, and the state did better than strict lockdown states like California.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis: Lockdowns Were a Huge Mistake

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.