The ‘UnCalifornia’ approach by Gov. DeSantis works for Florida

by WorldTribune Staff, April 30, 2020

The media predicted the Sunshine State, the land of Mickey Mouse and South Beach, would become another New York City or Italy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The corporate media, as well as major state media, harped: How could Gov. Ron DeSantis dare to treat COVID-19 in Florida in such an “UnCalifornia” way?

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with President Donald Trump at the White House on April 28. / YouTube

DeSantis “has an idea, and he flaunted it Tuesday at the White House — in the face of the previously-naysaying media,” Alex Parker wrote for RedState on April 29. “Apparently, the guy thinks a measured approach is best. And one that takes things area-by-area.”

During a meeting with President Donald Trump, DeSantis ripped the major media over its doom-and-gloom predictions related to his leadership in Florida.

DeSantis refused to completely close Florida, and he was grilled for it. And not just by national media. Florida’s major media outlets criticized the governor’s every move and deceptively played up every daily increase in reported coronavirus cases as evidence that the state should stay locked down without mentioning the large uptick in testing that was sure to result in more cases.

On April 29, DeSantis announced that Florida will gradually lift coronavirus restrictions in several phases over the next several weeks, beginning on May 4.

The first phase of the governor’s plan will see limited reopening of stores and restaurants everywhere except the hardest-hit counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. Capacity for retail stores and dine-in restaurants will be limited to 25 percent in the initial phase and ensuing phases will come “in weeks, not months,” DeSantis said.

“The only thing we have to fear is letting fear overwhelm our sense of purpose and determination,” DeSantis said.

All things considered, Florida’s numbers are good:

“We’ve had people in the hospital, but I am now in a situation where I have less than 500 people in a state of 22 million on ventilators as of last night. And I have 6,500 ventilators that are sitting idle, unused throughout the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.

The governor noted that Florida had conducted contact tracing in the early days of the pandemic, and that the state had focused on select areas to prevent the spread. Moving forward, he explained, at-risk populations will be a field of concentration.

In reporting on the governor’s announcement, Florida’s major media not surprisingly left out some of his more striking comments and some of the most convincing evidence that his approach is working, such as:

• “We also are going to protect people’s civil liberties and constitutional and individual rights. There’ve been wide ranging and punitive orders issued in various regions of this country. People have rights. The government needs to protect health, but we should not go beyond what is necessary to do that.”

• “We need to focus on facts and not fear. And I think that there’s been a lot that’s been done to try to promote fear, to promote worst case scenarios, to drive hysteria. And I think people should know that that worst case scenario thinking, that has not proven to be true.”

• “We’ve talked about hospital capacity and I remember reading that by last week, so this was in March, they said by April 24, Florida would have 465,000 people hospitalized because of COVID-19. Well that is something that’s really scary, especially when you consider Florida only has 70,000 licensed hospital beds. So if you’re predicting that you’re predicting the biggest break of the healthcare system probably in human history. So what ended up happening? So that’s the 465,000, way up there for hospitalizations. You look down, 2,111 hospitalizations. So they were off by about 463,000 hospitalizations. Again, that was a scary thing when you’re saying that because you would have hundreds of thousands of people that would have no medical care at all and you would have way excessive fatalities. It would be an absolute catastrophe. So we’re at 2,000, they predicted 460,000.”

• “Projections say the state could run out of ICU beds by April 14. Very scary. If you need to be in intensive care, you need certain types of treatment and there’s no beds, what’s going to happen? Obviously that’s not going to be good. Well, what did happen? Florida’s ICU bed availability today, 36.5 percent of the ICU beds in the state of Florida sit empty. We didn’t run out of ICU beds.”

• “So we’re going to be safe, smart and we’re going to do this step-by-step. We are trying to build a foundation for the future of the state of Florida. We did not ask to be put into this situation. This was thrust upon us largely because of the malfeasance of the Chinese Communist Party. We are where we are, but I think that we can get through it. I think we can build the foundation.”

Look at the results: Florida is outperforming others in terms of slowing the spread of coronavirus.

A reporter at the White House on Tuesday asked DeSantis about the fierce criticism he took for his UnCalifornia approach.

DeSantis responded: “What have the results been? You look at some of the most draconian orders that have been issued in some of these states and compare Florida in terms of our hospitalizations per 100,000, in terms of our fatalities per 100,000. I mean, you go from D.C., Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, you name it. Florida’s done better.”

The media predictions that Florida would be on par with New York City and Italy in terms of coronavirus cases “has not happened,” DeSantis noted, “because we understood we have a big, diverse state. We understood the outbreak was not uniform throughout the state, and we had a tailored and measured approach that not only helped our numbers be way below what anyone predicted but also did less damage to our state going forward.”

Parker noted: “For some completely paralyzed by a clampdown, that ‘going forward’ thing’s gonna be a doozy. Florida didn’t ignore the virus; people stayed home. But it wasn’t a complete closure. Road projects, for example, continued.”

DeSantis also allowed worship services to continue and beaches have reopened.

Parker noted that the approach by DeSantis “sounds reasonable, and it’s obviously worked for Florida. There’s no such thing as ‘One Size Fits All,’ and perhaps a health crisis — like other legislative, executive, and judicial issues — is best dealt with locally rather than the same across an entire state, much less a nation.”

But, Parker added, “some in the press are going to grill any state for not closings in every way possible — they need to continue the narrative in their battle against Trump: He’s killing America by not doing enough. Until they cook him over the economy: He’s killing America by doing too much.”

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