In July 2020, Florida’s Republican Governor, Ron DeSantis, decided to take a different approach to the lockdowns than many of the other US states such as California. DeSantis decided to treat his citizens as adults and told them to ‘act responsibly’ and kept schools, beaches and businesses open.
The mainstream media went crazy. In his article entitled, The Republicans take America on a Death March for The New Republic, Adam Weinstein wrote:
“Keeping churches open—as well as beaches, restaurants, and dividend-yielding commerce—has been a big priority for Ron DeSantis. DeSantis has resisted calls from medical experts and Florida residents to return to quarantine measures or shutdowns of nonessential businesses.”
Nearly eight months later, the rhetoric is starting to change as people now have the opportunity to compare what happened in Florida with what took place in California that had the most severe lockdowns restrictions in America.
When it came to the spread of the Coronavirus, there was essentially no difference.
The Blaze explains:
A CNN report admitted that the pandemic plan by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida has been largely a success, and many on social media fired off angry responses at the article and the journalist who authored it.
The article by CNN’s chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny cautiously admits that DeSantis has been able to save the economy of the state without the massive death toll that many were predicting.
As many parts of the country embark on an uneasy march toward normalcy, Florida is not only back in business — it’s been in business for the better part of the past year. DeSantis’ gamble to take a laissez faire approach appears to be paying off — at least politically, at least for now, as other governors capturing attention in the opening phase of the pandemic now face steeper challenges.
Zeleny goes on to document how Florida is in the middle of the pack when it comes to the coronavirus cases, ranking 23rd worst out of 50 states. But California, which was first to lock down statewide and implemented very stringent lockdown policies, came in at 22nd.
Though the two states are similar in many regards, they differ in one key demographic. Florida’s elderly population (those over the age of 60) is 50% higher than California’s.
But with the two states having very similar COVID outcomes despite a Jekyll and Hyde approach to the lockdowns, many are questioning if the lockdowns had any impact on stopping the spread of the Coronavirus.
The AP explains:
Nearly a year after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the nation’s first statewide shutdown because of the coronavirus, masks remain mandated, indoor dining and other activities are significantly limited, and Disneyland remains closed.
By contrast, Florida has no statewide restrictions. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has prohibited municipalities from fining people who refuse to wear masks. And Disney World has been open since July.
Despite their differing approaches, California and Florida have experienced almost identical outcomes in COVID-19 case rates.
How have two states that took such divergent tacks arrived at similar points?