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Governor Ron DeSantis is feeling some vindication after being criticized for his handling of the coronavirus crisis in Florida.
The Republican governor gave a shout out to Fox News host Tucker Carlson and Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel for a recent segment highlighting how measures implemented in the Sunshine State to combat the pandemic have been “critical to flattening the curve” there.
Thank you @TuckerCarlson and Dr. Marc Siegel for sharing how my administration’s actions to protect our seniors and most vulnerable in long-term care facilities early on during the #COVID19 pandemic was critical to flattening the curve in Florida. pic.twitter.com/jVsjqMugLW
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) May 9, 2020
Speaking with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, DeSantis had explained how Florida had focused on populations of “greatest risk” in Florida, notably the elderly who are living in long-term care facilities like nursing homes. The governor early on had suspended visitation to the locations and required staff to stringently follow safety guidelines.
DeSantis noted that 60 percent of the deaths in Florida were in those aged over 75 years old, so he concentrated resources to those most vulnerable.
“So what is Florida doing that New York isn’t doing?” Carlson asked on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” referring to the tragic loss of life in New York, where a statewide policy affecting nursing homes lead to the spread of the coronavirus and deaths of nearly 5,000 elderly residents.
Siegel told Carlson that the 4,800 deaths in New York nursing homes due to the coronavirus is three times the number of deaths in the entire state of Florida from the disease. He condemned the state policy that sends infected patients back to the facilities where they act like “kindling” in spreading the virus to otherwise healthy residents.
Local tempers flare over report NY readmitting nursing home residents who tested positive for COVID-19 https://t.co/OM8qYGOR4G
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 23, 2020
DeSantis issued Florida’s stay-at-home order on April 3, later than most other states, amid criticism for the delay as images of partying Spring Break students and crowded beaches fueled the condemnation. Though social distancing measures were strongly enforced in the state, the governor contended that more severe overreach by the government was not necessary to flatten the COVID-19 curve.
On Friday, the governor announced that barbershops and salons can begin to reopen Monday across the state, with the exception of Broward and Miami-Dade counties.
One other area where DeSantis operated outside of the norm was in not ordering churches across the state to close. The GOP lawmaker made a change to his statewide “safer-at-home” order last month, putting in place orders that superseded any local order. The move followed the controversial arrest of the pastor of The River at Tampa Bay Church who held a well-attended service in defiance of Hillsborough County’s social distancing order.
“I don’t think the government has the authority to close a church,” DeSantis said at the time. “I’m certainly not going to do that.”
Meanwhile, in California, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing fierce pushback to his sweeping emergency orders and residents are fed up. Protests, lawsuits and outright defiance have been the response to the ongoing lockdowns in the state.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) April 30, 2020
Now a group of 3,000 California churches in the state are planning to reopen for in-person services at the end of the month, far in advance of the phased reopening schedule which has churches opening back up when salons and gyms do.
Representing nearly 2.5 million members, California Church United pastors announced this week that the network of churches will open on May 31, Fox News reported.
“Our churches are part of the answer, not part of the problem,” said Danny Carroll, senior pastor at Water of Life Community Church said. “We’re an essential part of this whole journey and we’ve been bypassed … kicked to the curb and deemed nonessential.”
“He didn’t ask us. He overstepped and he’s overreached,” pastor Matt Brown said.
A federal judge backed the governor this week in a ruling that said he had the authority to protect the public by banning church gatherings during the pandemic.
“Our fear is simply this,” Newsom said, “congregations of people from far and wide coming together in a closed space at a large scale remains a point of concern and anxiety for us.”
California was the first state in the nation to issue a stay-at-home order back on March 19. And while the state is cautiously reopening some businesses now which can offer delivery or curbside pick-up, significant portions of the state will remain closed. Offices, gyms, dine-in restaurants, shopping malls, public beaches, churches and malls are to remain closed.