Florida’s pandemic death, infection rates among lowest in country despite absence of mandates

Florida has one of the country’s best COVID-19 death and illness rates despite the fact that Gov. Ron DeSantis and state officials have not implemented mandatory masking and other pandemic restrictions.

The Daily Mail noted Wednesday that only two months ago, the Sunshine State was undergoing the worst COVID surge in the country, experiencing the highest seven-day infection and hospitalization rates. However, DeSantis, a Republican who has been mentioned as a potential 2024 presidential contender and who faces reelection next year, did not impose mask mandates or lockdowns, saying that the spike was seasonal and asking residents to get the vaccine.

“Now, with Halloween and Thanksgiving right around the corner, the COVID crisis looks really different in Florida,” the outlet reported, adding: “Inexplicably, cases and deaths have been going down despite DeSantis implementing no new mitigation measures.”

The outlet went on to note that Florida’s rates of COVID morbidity and sickness are among the best in the country, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data and is on par with similar downward trends seen around the country as infection and deaths from the virus fall to their lowest levels since April.

Interestingly, Florida’s rates are as good as those in Democrat-run California, even though the latter state has adopted a very strict regimen of COVID mandates including mask-wearing, limiting the number of people who can gather together, and shuttering bars, restaurants, and other indoor venues.

Experts have said that waves of the virus generally occur about every two months, meaning infections and deaths will rise in those periods. But rather than attempting to prevent the cycles from taking place, DeSantis has chosen instead to just let them run their course.

“The declining rates could change as Floridians head inside for the winter months, potentially causing cases to rise again, but, as of now, it seems like Florida’s downward trends will only continue,” the Daily Mail noted.

DeSantis has touted his approach as the best way to deal with the pandemic while still respecting Floridians’ constitutional protections and liberties. Early in the pandemic, for instance, he moved to protect the state’s senior citizen population, which is large in Florida, because of early data that showed older Americans with preexisting health conditions were more apt to contract the virus and die from it.

But since then, DeSantis has pushed back against mask mandates and social distancing rules, allowing parents to choose whether to send their kids to school masked or unmasked, and refusing demands from Democrats to impose stricter statewide measures.

In August as cases were rising again, the governor defended his approach while also ripping President Biden for not ending the pandemic as he claimed during last year’s campaign that he would.

“You know, he said he was going to end Covid. He hasn’t done that,” DeSantis told Fox News. “At the end of the day, he is trying to find a way to distract from the failures of his presidency.”

“We are the first state to start the treatment centers for monoclonal antibodies. We’re having great success with that. That should have been a bigger plan, a bigger part of this whole response throughout the country from the beginning. At the end of the day, he is trying to find a way to distract from the failures of his presidency,” he added.

According to CDC data, Florida is only behind California, Mississippi, Hawaii and Alabama, respectively, in terms of new COVID cases per day, at nine per 100,000 people. California’s daily rate as of this week is three.

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Jon Dougherty

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