Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made it publicly clear in a speech Monday that nothing in the Sunshine State will change in terms of COVID -19 response, amidst the onset of the newly discovered Omicron variant.
The comments by the Republican governor were made at a Highway Patrol station event in Orlando, Florida, on Monday afternoon. A majority of the event was dedicated for DeSantis to lay out his agenda in asking state lawmakers for budget increases for various branches of their law enforcement.
But then DeSantis brought up the newest COVID-19 variant. "We are not in Florida going to allow any media-driven hysteria to do anything to infringe people's individual freedoms when it comes to any types of COVID variants…"
The position of the White House on the Omicron variant is "if people are vaccinated and wear their mask, there's no need for lockdown," per President Joe Biden's remarks earlier Monday.
DeSantis expressed his thoughts on the matter: "And let me just say — in Florida we will not let them lock you down. We will not let them take your jobs. We will not let them harm your businesses. We will not let them close your schools. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. The lockdowns didn’t stop COVID. Forced masking, they said last year would end the pandemic if eighty percent wore masks (many more than that were wearing masks) and it hasn’t worked. They said you could get COVID off of surfaces, which isn't true. They’ve not been honest about the origins of the virus and they haven’t been forthright about natural immunity."
In contrast, blue states like New York have already declared an emergency over the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
The next portion of the comments made by DeSantis respond to the Biden administration's decision to ban travel from South Africa and seven other African nations amid the Omicron variant. This observed double standard at play was brought to the White House's attention at Monday's press conference.
"And with these travel restrictions… I was probably the first governor in January of 2020 to call for travel restrictions from China. I supported President Trump when he did that. But we have to take a step back and acknowledge that those travel restrictions just didn’t work. The virus had already spread… and so whatever this variant is, the fact that you identify some in Southern Africa, that does not mean that it’s not in any corner of the globe, it’s an airborne respiratory virus, so I think those restrictions are not going to work. They haven’t worked in the past, and clearly to even be entertaining the idea of doing destructive, disastrous policies like lockdowns… I mean honestly I’m not surprised because I think some people are just wired for this," DeSantis stated.
Previous remarks made by the Biden administration's COVID-19 point person Dr. Anthony Fauci agreed with the point made by Florida's governor that the new COVID-19 variant is likely "all over" the world already. At the end of last week Florida led the nation in having the lowest daily COVID-19 cases per capita.
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