Florida Governor is Still Against Mandates Despite a Spike in Cases
By Sophia Mao
In the midst of a spike in coronavirus cases connected to the delta variant, governor Ron DeSantis of Florida has been unyielding in his attitude toward the pandemic. Even as cases are the highest they have been since March, the governor insists that the situation isn’t as bad as it seems.
Last week after president Joe Biden suggested governors like DeSantis should find ways to fight against the virus or “get out of the way,” he blamed him for not taking care of the virus situation correctly. Last Friday, a new state rule was adopted. Parents can now request private school vouchers if they think that the requirements for schools are “harassment.” This counters the schools’ mask mandates in Florida.
DeSantis is against mandates despite the many children returning to school who are too young to get vaccinated. He and Biden have been making many remarks at each other over the past week for not sharing the same beliefs.
The new virus spike has caused a large increase in covid-19 hospitalizations, but DeSantis still refuses to impose restrictions. He even sued the CDC- and succeeded- for requiring cruise ship passengers to get vaccinated. He also opposes mandating vaccinations in hospitals because he thinks it would result in staff shortages, which is an ongoing problem.
DeSantis believes that “We can either have a free society, or we can have a biomedical security state.” He advocates for people making their own decisions.
DeSantis isn’t the only governor to be reluctant to impose new rules for the rising cases. Many states in the south are seeing rapidly rising infection levels; Florida and Louisiana have the country’s highest hospitalization rates. Luckily, most people over the age of 65 have been vaccinated so deaths have remained at a reasonable amount.
Dr. Marissa J. Levine, the director of the Center for Leadership in Public Health Practice at the University of South Florida, said the denial around the situation is making the end of the pandemic seem very far away. DeSantis argued that prioritizing the vaccinations for older people would result in less deaths.
Some of Florida’s residents have shared their view on the governor. Gabriel Molina, the father of a 3 year old, is unhappy with DeSantis. “I have a 3-year-old boy I’m concerned about,” he said regarding the governor’s opposition to masks in schools.
Hopefully, the governors will start or continue to make better decisions to battle covid.