The Internet tried to cancel Florida for a moment in April. Pictures showing crowds at Jacksonville Beach amid the epidemic sent the hashtag #FloridaMorns Trending on Twitter. The media spread scenes of ignorant spring breakers endangering themselves and others. Here Ron Desantis, the Republican governor of Florida, joined the neighboring state of Georgia’s “human sacrifice test” as a writer for the Atlantic, and locals lifted the ban on them.
About a month later, Duval County in Jacksonville announced the admission of the new COVID-19 hospital in single digits. Hospitalization, cases, and mortality rates have remained stable throughout Florida. Fewer Floridians have died as a result of the novel so far than in New York nursing homes (2,259 compared to at least 5,800). As Politico concludes, “Florida doesn’t look as bad as the national media. It’s been predicted for almost two months now.”
The Florida approach – a decentralized health response with targeted lockdowns and quarantines imposed by voluntary social distance – seems to have worked.
Other populous states, such as Tennessee under the Government Bill, have seen similar success. Lesson: It is possible to keep an eye on the virus even when it is slowly reopened.
Florida is big and diverse. If Jacksonville and Tallahassee are in the Deep South, the state’s I-4 corridor runs from Tampa to Orlando to Daytona Beach, authentic Central America. South Florida is a multi-glottal “New Havana”, a swallowing vessel on the Gulf and Gold Coast. Surprisingly, Diocentes overtook the county to respond to COVID-19.
Before moving to New York City, Miami-Dade County shut down all its nonprofit businesses, and local leaders first shut down many Florida beaches and cracked down on huge crowds.
When Florida places a stay-at-home order (two days after New York), it targets the state’s 4 million seniors and residents with underlying medical conditions.
State regulations issued on April 1 greatly restrict “unreasonable” activities and businesses, but at the moment Floridians have already imposed their own restrictions.
Meanwhile, the state government of Tallahassee was continuing to test personal protective equipment and by the end had a total of more than one million masks and 1 million gloves. In late April, the state conducted another 12,000 daily COVID-19 tests, with more capacity, and the drive-through facilities alone conducted more than 100,000 tests in early May. (In contrast, New York was testing 20,000 per day in mid-April, considering an outbreak size of at least 100,000 which is less than needed.)
The response to COVID-19 in Florida focused on nursing homes. More than a third of the country’s Covid-19s have died among residents and staff of long-term care agencies – a figure that has jumped more than 60 percent in Minnesota and West Virginia. Florida counts more than 350,000 people who work or work at such facilities and have the highest share among residents over the age of 65.
Early in the outbreak, Florida deploys rapid-response teams to isolate or isolate or isolate residents testing positive for the virus at these facilities for testing, treatment, and need. The state issues PPE on these facilities and makes its use mandatory.
New York was taking sick patients to nursing homes, Florida was taking them out. On March 15, DeSantis banned the transfer of COVID-19-positive patients to long-term care facilities and placed homes in COVID only.
In contrast, Gov. Kuomo – celebrated in the media, when de Santis was pillowed – so that infected patients should be admitted to a nursing home, where Kuomo himself said the virus spread “like fire through the grass.”
Florida’s beaches and businesses are slowly opening up and life is returning to become a symbol of normalcy. Retailers and restaurants, hair and nail salons, gyms and hotels are being opened with a reduction in occupancy; Soon, the “second step” will allow a gathering of 50 people and further increase the acquisition limit. Tampa, partially open, was one of the first U.S. cities where restaurants increased their dining space on closed streets and open sidewalks, helping them stay with their businesses while maintaining social distance.
Governors should get their states records out of this crisis and out. It’s a standard that promotes governors like Ron Desantis and Bill Lee – and perhaps condemns Andrew Cuomo.
Michael Hendrix is a contributor to the City Journal, from which this column was adapted.