Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
This morning I had my hair cut—legally—and I’m in a great mood, especially as I look at the state of Florida and the way it’s getting through this pandemic. The governor of Florida has been masterful at walking the tightrope between practicing courage and caution. Compared to many other states where draconian measures are being enacted based on fear and politics, Gov. DeSantis has shown a powerful way to deal with this pandemic; other governors should take note. No arrests on beaches, no citations for walking your dog—and Gov. DeSantis must be highly commended for the steps he’s taken so far.
Yet the resistance has been strong from the Democrats:
The group of lawmakers asked DeSantis to provide a detailed testing plan, an assessment of Florida’s stockpile of personal protective equipment, plans to hire contact tracers and specific steps to ensure social distancing in local businesses along with public spaces like parks under local government jurisdiction. Florida must provide a testing plan to the federal government by May 24 as part of a $25 billion coronavirus funding bill that became law last week.
You can be sure those lawmakers will expect an expensive and comprehensive testing plan; that way, they will be able to identify an abundance of people who have had contact with the virus, supporting their intentions to keep the state closed down.
Still, they had to admit that that the Gov. has shown wisdom is his efforts:
‘We are relieved that the three South Florida counties that continue to be at the epicenter of the pandemic in Florida are excluded from the state’s reopening plan,’ the lawmakers wrote. ‘Nevertheless, we know all too well that a virus does not respect borders or county lines, and a reopening in one area does not preclude another area from increased risk. According to data released by the state as recently as Thursday, May 7th, Florida continues to experience a rise in confirmed cases statewide.’
From the most recent data, deaths are going down, and since they wrote their letter, cases have gone down 14% from last week.
DeSantis has demonstrated many qualities that have helped him navigate these turbulent waters. He makes decisions cautiously, and not based on the hysteria of those who would have us shutdown indefinitely. He’s shown versatility by changing decisions based on feedback and evidence. He hasn’t made state-wide decisions that punish those areas that have a lower number of cases: he’s opened up restaurants and shops by limiting access. He’s creating excitement and anticipation by offering our stadiums to professional sports teams. He’s sought assistance at all levels of government, according to this op-ed:
We are living in rapidly changing and unprecedented times and the governor is wisely weighing new information each day and acting accordingly. Weeks ago, the governor worked with local governments to shut down beaches and put an end to the mass-crowding of Spring Break. He called in help from the National Guard to open test centers across the state. Then, he sought a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Florida, which triggered the release of Federal Funds to distribute needed supplies and help Florida’s economy recover from COVID-19. In fact, there are national reports that Florida is receiving the best care of all states.
He’s also studying how visitors may be allowed at nursing homes:
Family members have been barred for two months from visiting parents, grandparents and others at Florida’s 4,400 nursing homes. DeSantis said that’s got to change.
But, he conceded, not yet.
‘My view has been, I want to get to ‘yes’ on that,’ DeSantis said. “I just want to be able to know that we have procedures in place that if someone goes to visit their mother, that two weeks later we’re not going to have 50 infections.’
Most recently, Florida labor unions are demanding that the governor change the rules for distributing unemployment from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. After all, we have $4 billion dollars in the state’s account.
In assessing the states’ economies, Stephen Moore and Arthur Laffer came to these conclusions:
The governors who get an A grade for protecting their economies from devastation go to Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado, a Democrat, joined by Republican Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, Kevin Stitt of Oklahoma, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Bill Lee of Tennessee and Mark Gordon of Wyoming. The governors who get an F and have put their states in the most economic peril are Govs. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, Ralph Northam of Virginia and Tony Evers of Wisconsin.
As difficult as the last two months have been, I’m relieved that on the whole Gov. Ron DeSantis has done an admirable job. He’s tried to consider how this pandemic affects the people and the economy. Instead of seeing this crisis as an opportunity to grab power and control his citizens, he’s remained flexible and open to new ideas. So Florida, all things considered, is doing great.
How are things going in your state?