While other jurisdictions are playing with the reinstatement of public health restrictions in response to increasing cases of COVID-19, the Governor of Florida. Ron DeSantis (R) says his state will not enter another round of lockdowns and masking mandates.
“If someone asks for lockdowns, they are not getting it in Florida. I am going to protect people’s livelihoods. I am going to protect the right of children to go to school. I am going to protect the right of people to manage their little ones. companies, “DeSantis said at a news conference in Fort Pierce, Florida, yesterday. “We have three vaccines that have been widely available for months and months. People need to make decisions about what is right for them.”
In Florida, as across the country, COVID-19 cases are on the rise thanks to the spread of the most transmissible Delta variant of the virus. The state’s cases have increased nearly eightfold since the beginning of July. About one in four new COVID infections are occurring in Florida, reports The hill.
There has been a significant increase in hospitalizations in the state, The New York Times reported today. About 70 percent of inpatient hospital beds are occupied in the state, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. panel.
However, deaths from Covid have risen much less dramatically. The seven-day death average in the state was 34 as of yesterday, up from 30 in early July. COVID deaths are down 94 percent since December, reports the Miami Herald.
“These vaccines are saving lives. They are reducing mortality,” DeSantis said earlier this week.
Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said during a CNBC segment yesterday that this current wave of cases would continue to increase until the end of August and then probably decrease.
Florida has been essentially free of Covid restrictions since May. That month, DeSantis issued an executive order suspending all local states of emergency. So hey signed a bill requiring local emergency orders to be “strictly tailored” to serve a “compelling public health or safety purpose.” That bill also limited the number of days a local emergency order could be extended and made it easier for the state legislature to revoke the governor’s state-level emergency policies.
DeSantis also pardoned people convicted of violating Covid restrictions and canceled the fines they would have to pay.
Florida offers a contrast to states like California, which only officially dropped most of its pandemic regulations, including capacity limits on businesses and offices, on June 15. Rising COVID cases have prompted Los Angeles County to reinstate its mask mandate, even for those vaccinated. and they still threaten new restrictions. Other California counties have simply recommended that people, regardless of vaccination status, put the masks back on.
Reimposing restrictions on those vaccinated, particularly when deaths are the lowest since the start of the pandemic, could actually backfire on public health.
“For young, healthy residents who understand that they face little personal risk from COVID-19, the freedom to avoid masks can be one of the most attractive aspects of vaccination,” he wrote. ReasonJacob Sullum last week. “Up to now 61 percent of Los Angeles County residents age 16 and older are fully vaccinated, and this mask rule doesn’t seem like a good strategy to increase that number. “
At least in Florida, lawmakers are resisting the temptation to create that disincentive.