On Friday, Republican Gov. of Florida Ron DeSantis addressed the audience at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference and asserted that Florida “got it right” on COVID-19 handling, whereas “the locked down states got it wrong.”
“Now we are stronger as a state and much happier as a people because of this leadership. Florida has lower per capita COVID mortality than the national average and lower than 27 other states,” DeSantis said. “Our unemployment rate is lower than the national average, even though tourism isn’t fully back. And our budget is in great shape — we have not touched one red cent from our rainy day fund throughout this whole time. Florida got it right, and the locked-down states got it wrong.”
The crowd in Orlando roared in response to the governor’s declaration that the state of Florida has maintained lower than average COVID-19 fatality rates in relation to the country, as well as keeping the state open for business. In May, DeSantis lifted his initial lockdown restrictions, as well as the prior stay-at-home order, switching to a policy of focused protection recommended by numerous medical professionals.
According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau as of Feb. 26, 2021, Florida has a COVID-19 fatality rate of 142 per 100,000 state residents, in comparison to New Jersey (260), New York (241), Rhode Island (236), Massachusetts (232)—and lower than 23 other states.
MSNBC and others in the left-wing media attacked DeSantis earlier this month for prioritizing COVID-19 vaccinations for vulnerable seniors in Florida, while commentators like CNN’s Jim Acosta continue to neglect Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y.’s unethical practice of sending more than 9,000 COVID-19 infected seniors back to nursing homes among those most vulnerable to the disease.
Cuomo is currently the target of a federal investigation, and his top aide secretary Melissa DeRosa told the public that the Cuomo administration “froze” fatality reporting because of fears that it would “be used against us.” Prior to this statement from DeRosa, New York Attorney General Letitia James released a 76-page report saying the New York Department of Health underreported nursing home fatalities by more than 50 percent.
“[I]t is imperative that we understand why the residents of nursing homes in New York unnecessarily suffered at such an alarming rate,” James said, after months of investigating New York’s handling. “While we cannot bring back the individuals we lost to this crisis, this report seeks to offer transparency that the public deserves and to spur increased action to protect our most vulnerable residents.”
DeSantis characterized Florida as “an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering from the yoke of oppressive lockdowns” earlier in the CPAC speech. “We look around in other parts of our country and in too many places we see schools closed, businesses shuttered and lives destroyed,” DeSantis said. “Florida lifted people up.”
Former President Donald Trump is set to speak at CPAC this Sunday, and will reportedly discuss the Biden administration.