Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced an end to all COVID-19 restrictions in the state. While the Sunshine State had previously relaxed, or otherwise rolled back any of its restrictions ahead of other U.S. states, few of them remained, enforced by school districts resistant to the Republican governor's orders.
A video posted on social media captioned “There is no place in Florida for COVID theatre,” contains footage of DeSantis, who was speaking at a panel from earlier in the week with Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, and other medical experts who advocated for “closing the curtain” on lockdowns and COVID restrictions.
“These experts agree — no masking, no mandates and no medical censorship,” DeSantis stated.
“Over the past two years, the data has shown us what works and what doesn’t work. It is long past time to stop the COVID theatre,” DeSantis said. “In Florida, we told the truth, we let the data drive our response, and we let Floridians make decisions for themselves and their children.”
“As a result, Florida is in a better spot than states who used fear mongering and mandates,” the governor said.
“Today, we were able to bring doctors from around the world to discuss COVID-19 and the lack of data to support mandates. Scientific debate takes place in a public forum — it is not hidden in federal bureaucracy. We need to get back to living — not hiding in fear,” echoed Ladapo in a statement to the press.
“It was Governor DeSantis who led the nation prioritizing seniors, followed the data for businesses to remain open, and children to attend school in person, recognizing how little their risk was,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “While the Biden Administration criticizes our response to COVID-19, Florida remains to be the envy of the nation.”
Numerous physicians and medical specialists supported the Florida governor in issuing the statement, with many stating that school lockdowns and mandatory mask-wearing were a hindrance to childhood education and impaired the quality of life for children affected by the restrictions.
“At most 5%, based on a lot of the published data of COVID, was actually spread in schools,” said Dr. Christopher D’Adamo, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “So what we do know is the collateral damage was real with this, for both physical health and mental health.”
“On the physical side we’ve seen, when you’re out of school, you’re not getting recess, you’re not getting physical education, you’re not getting sports, dance, just general movement from class to class,” D’Adamo said. “We have seen this likely contributed to the increases in BMI and obesity, a doubling of the increased rate of BMI during COVID. We’ve seen a doubling in some places of the incidents of new type two diabetes cases. When you have social isolation, when you’re away from friends, especially at such a formative age like that with even more screen time, we’ve seen increases in anxiety, depression, stress, which is one of the ultimate ways to impair the immune system is to be stressed. This has resulted in emergency department admissions for mental health related conditions.”
“When we think about lockdowns, we should recoil with horror because the policies we followed have violated not just medical ethics, but also crushed the ability for scientists to discuss openly with each other facts and evidence,'' said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, M.D., Ph.D., professor of health policy, Stanford University Medical School, who described the lockdowns as “an enormous catastrophic mistake that should never be repeated.”