A Stanford University professor of medicine has broken ranks with the liberal media by praising Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for his response to the coronavirus pandemic, which was handled more poorly by his Democratic counterparts in states like New York and California.
Dr. Jay Bhattacharya described DeSantis as “extraordinary” in comments on an April 17 interview on the Tom Woods Show, a libertarian podcast. Speaking of the Republican, Bhattacharya said "I mean, I've never met a politician like him. He's extraordinary," adding that he had a “remarkable” conversation with DeSantis when they spoke about COVID-19 last fall.
The professor stated that DeSantis was well educated on the subject and “knew all of the details” as he had read numerous papers on the disease.
Under DeSantis, Florida has become the most open state in the union, and was among the first to lift lockdowns completely. On Sept. 25, DeSantis lifted all restrictions on businesses that were previously imposed to control the spread of COVID-19, a move that many of his Democrat counterparts called reckless and said would lead to more infections — a prediction that has failed to come to pass.
"I mean, there's this like combination of… bravery, intellectual bravery and also willingness to take a stand and sort of a knowledge that I've never seen in a politician," Bhattacharya said of DeSantis, as reported by Newsweek.
The professor said that DeSantis is more educated on coronavirus literature than “most epidemiologists.”
“I've just been very impressed,” Bhattacharya said.
Bhattacharya and DeSantis have enjoyed a close relationship since their first meeting last fall and have appeared at several roundtables together. Most recently, they discussed Big Tech and censorship after YouTube banned a March 18 video of a roundtable discussion between DeSantis and several health experts, some of whom said facemasks were unnecessary for children.
The move appeared to indicate that YouTube claimed to have more authority over pandemic response than Florida’s leading health officials. Even the World Health Organization says children under six years old should not wear masks, and children aged six to 11 should do so only under certain conditions.
Bhattacharya, along with scientists from Oxford and Harvard Universities, co-authored a petition last October called the Great Barrington Declaration, a call to end lockdowns. The group proposed instead a “focused protection” plan, designed to isolate and protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19 instead of keeping all of society under severe restrictions.
As of this week, the Great Barrington Declaration has received upwards of 14,000 signatures from medical and public health scientists, as well as over 42,000 medical practitioners, and over 780,000 concerned citizens.
Despite growing popularity, the petition has faced resistance from top U.S. official Dr. Anthony Fauci, as well as the Infectious Diseases Society of America, which called the declaration, “inappropriate, irresponsible, and ill-informed.”