Not long after the mainstream media declared Joe Biden the winner of the White House race, an adviser to the former vice president floated the idea of instituting a nationwide lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. But if Biden does issue any such orders, the state of Florida will apparently be defying them.
According to Breitbart, a spokesperson for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said this week that the Republican “will not lock down” the state “and hurt families who can’t afford to shelter in place for [six] weeks.”
Monitoring the numbers
The remarks came in a statement to West Palm Beach’s CBS12 News.
“Today we are back down to 4,500 [cases] and a 7.3% positivity rate,” DeSantis’ spokesperson told the outlet. “The Governor will not lock down and hurt families who can’t afford to shelter in place for [six] weeks. Especially not for a virus that has a 99.8% survival rate.”
In the meantime, the spokesperson emphasized that the governor is particularly focusing right now on “assisted living facilities.”
“Since those over 70 face the greatest threat from [the coronavirus],” the spokesperson told CBS12, “the Governor is monitoring those numbers daily and is prepared to move therapeutic and prophylactic assets to those facilities as needed.”
Locking down the country?
The spokesperson’s comments came after Dr. Michael Osterholm, one of Biden’s top coronavirus advisers, suggested in an interview that a lockdown of up to six weeks could the most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“We have a big pool of money out there that we could borrow… We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the lost wages for individual workers, losses to small companies and medium-sized companies, for cities, states, county governments,” the doctor said, according to the Washington Examiner. “If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks, and if we did that, we could drive the numbers down, like they did in Asia, like they did in New Zealand and Australia.”
DeSantis and other GOP governors, including Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, later issued statements signifying they’d ignore such an order, as Breitbart noted — and by Thursday, the Biden camp had backed down. “I am not going to shut down the economy, period,” the former VP vowed, according to Business Insider. “I’m going to shut down the virus…no national shutdown.”
According to CBS12, DeSantis moved Florida into Phase 3 of its re-opening plan near the end of September, lifting nearly all prior restrictions on businesses and making county-wide mask mandates unenforceable.
As of Wednesday, Florida has seen a total of over 890,000 positive tests for COVID-19, and nearly 18,000 people have died from the disease there, The Hill reports.
Nationwide, the U.S. surpassed 250,000 deaths from the coronavirus earlier this week, according to NBC News.