Florida Governor Ron DeSantis slammed lockdowns as a “failed approach,” recalling his state’s experience with COVID and its successful efforts in dealing with the pandemic.
In an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Thursday, the Republican governor called efforts to lock down businesses and societies “absolutely destructive.”
"Not only has it been absolutely destructive to those societies [that implemented it]," DeSantis said, "the COVID results per capita have been worse in places like New York and New Jersey and Pennsylvania."
According to Fox News, DeSantis recently met with the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, a consortium of epidemiologists whose proposed strategy of “focused protection” contrasts with policies enacted by Democratic governors and federal health authorities to combat the virus.
"These are some of the top experts in the world [that have] been able to validate that Florida's approach was the proper approach," the governor said.
DeSantis highlighted how his administration has vaccinated over 70 per cent of the state’s senior citizen population, far exceeding many other states on a per capita basis.
"In Florida, we followed a strategy of focused protection on elderly and vulnerable people, having the economy open, having schools open," DeSantis said. "The result is our unemployment is significantly less than the national average. Our COVID mortality per capita is less than the national average."
Due to Florida’s ongoing success, DeSantis said on Friday that he intends to sign an executive order to open COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to people over 50 starting next Monday. In a news conference in Tallahassee, DeSantis said that demand is dropping among those currently eligible for the vaccine, which is currently available to those aged 60 and up, and healthcare workers over the age of 50.
"I think the demand has been relatively modest," DeSantis said. "So we think that this makes sense,” adding that the state will open up vaccines to everyone by May 1.