Announcing the end of the state’s month-long shutdown, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis denounced inaccurate, media-touted models that predicted disastrous outcomes for the state.
On Wednesday, Gov. DeSantis contrasted early warnings that Florida hospitals would quickly be overrun as the state became “next New York” or even an “uber Italy” with the current reality: that the state is faring quite well, even in spite of having a significant population of vulnerable senior citizens.
“We need to focus on facts and not fear,” DeSantis said in a tweet sharing a video of his presentation of the state’s “Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step” reopening plan.
“They said Florida was going to be just like New York or an ‘Uber Italy’ when it came to hospitalizations and fatalities,” DeSantis continued. “This was wrong. It’s time to focus on the facts and follow a safe, smart, and step-by-step plan for recovery.”
We need to focus on facts and not fear. They said Florida was going to be just like New York or an “Uber Italy” when it came to hospitalizations and fatalities. This was wrong. It’s time to focus on the facts and follow a safe, smart and step-by-step plan for recovery. pic.twitter.com/tCksZJ05a3
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 1, 2020
“I think that there’s been a lot that’s been done to try to promote fear,” DeSantis stated, pointing to several national headlines from early April predicting doomsday for the Sunshine State.
At the time, the Washington Examiner declared “Florida could be the next New York in the coronavirus outbreak.” The Sun-Sentinel asked readers: “Coronavirus is ravaging New York, and Florida could be next. Are we ready?” A sensational Washington Post article stated, “As coronavirus cases surge in Florida, fears mount that action came too late.”
In the early days of May, however, it became clear that Florida was experiencing a very different outcome than what was predicted.
DeSantis showed statistics comparing Florida’s fatalities per 100,000 people to New York’s. Where New York lost 117.5 people per 100,000, Florida lost 5.2.
As for hospitalizations, Florida has had just 3,745 where New York has had an estimated 42,417.
“Saying Florida was going to be like New York was wrong and people need to know it was wrong,” DeSantis stated.
The governor also cited projections from Andrew Noymer, a University of California demographer who received warned that “Florida is like an uber-Italy.”
“Not just like Italy. Way worse than Italy is what they were trying to say,” DeSantis said of Noymer’s projections.
DeSantis demonstrated that Florida’s rates never came within spitting distance of Italy’s massive number of hospitalizations. He also juxtaposed Italy’s 45.5 fatalities per 100,000 in Italy to Florida’s 5.2.
“Yeah, I think Italy was a little worse than Florida there,” DeSantis said, tongue-in-cheek.
The governor also shredded a model from March predicting 465,699 hospitalizations from the virus, which would have spelled certain disaster for the state and its 36,384 hospital beds available at the time.
With the real numbers laid bare for all to see, DeSantis outlined the state’s plan to carefully reopen.
USA Today reports:
Among the changes for the rest of the state: Restaurants can serve outdoors and have indoor dining again but only at 25% capacity. Health care providers also can begin doing elective procedures again.
Along with the restaurant changes, retail stores not considered essential services could now welcome customers inside, but also be limited to 25% capacity.
Bars, gyms, hairdressers and other personal services would remain closed for now, and DeSantis said he won’t immediately reopen movie theaters, which would be allowed under the first stage of the White House’s three-phased guidance to states looking to restart.
The plan also asks employers to encourage working from home wherever possible. When it’s not, the guidance calls for employees to maintain social distancing and wear masks.
The plan calls on the state’s seniors and those with underlying health conditions to remain at home and prohibits visits to nursing homes.
Gatherings of more than 10 people will still be discouraged.
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