Gov. Ron DeSantis did something pretty radical last year. While his counterparts around the country enforced COVID lockdowns for months and put thousands of people out of work, he decided to keep Florida open. He reflected on that job-saving decision in a weekend speech.
"While so many other states kept locking people down, Florida lifted people up," DeSantis said, his voice breaking.
Every Floridian has the right to earn a living. Florida is open, and we’ve got your back. pic.twitter.com/Y6WNAhu5qr— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 31, 2021
"We believe every job is essential," he continued. "You work in a restaurant, we have your back. If you're a hairstylist, we protect your right to earn a living. And if you're a parent, we ensure your kids have the right to attend school in person. Lockdowns do not work."
"Florida schools are open," he added. "Every Floridian has the right to work. All businesses have a right to operate. And Florida is better for it."
The statistics regarding COVID fatalities, while jarring, are also pretty telling.
FL is largely open, NY far more restricted.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) February 1, 2021
FL has 2M+ more residents than NY & far more seniors.
FL 26k COVID deaths, NY 43k.
As of 1/30, FL 7,600 new cases (+4.3%), NY 10,800 (+6.3%)
FL ~6k hospitalized, NY ~8k.
FL ahead of NY on vaccinations: https://t.co/JVbArZo29C pic.twitter.com/D4ETs9brMz
In fact, one can't listen to Gov. DeSantis without comparing him to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, including how the two men have treated seniors. DeSantis has prioritized the need to vaccinate seniors. He was even present when a 100-year-old WWII veteran became the 1 millionth senior in Florida to receive his vaccination. Meanwhile, Cuomo dragged his feet on distributing vaccines to the elderly, to the point that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio had to beg him to let them get shots into the arms of the most vulnerable.
Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James released her office's shocking report on COVID-related nursing home fatalities. According to their investigation, the Cuomo administration may have undercounted those deaths by as much as 50 percent. That could be because officials did not count those seniors who died from COVID after being transferred to hospitals. Confronted about the damning report, Cuomo said it doesn't matter where thousands of seniors died in nursing homes, they died.
Cuomo on nursing home deaths: “Who cares [where they died]? They died!” pic.twitter.com/VECpQNKF2I— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) January 29, 2021
Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean, whose in-laws died in New York nursing homes last year, tearfully thanked the Florida governor for his priorities.
"And Gov. DeSantis is doing good work in Florida," she said ahead of her weather report last week. "We thank him. Seniors first. Seniors first."