DeSantis risked the lives of Floridians

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order for the state, limiting movements and personal interactions outside the home to only those necessary to provide essential services or conduct essential activities. CNN's Rosa Flores reports.

Posted: Apr 2, 2020 10:21 AM
Updated: Apr 2, 2020 10:21 AM

A handful of governors deserve top marks for moving swiftly and efficiently to implement social distancing, issue stay-at-home orders and prepare to do battle against the coronavirus. Govs. Jay Inslee of Washington, Andrew Cuomo of New York, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Gavin Newsom of California are among them: they were early, effective and well-organized.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, by contrast, has been late and lackadaisical, in ways that will undoubtedly cost many Floridians their health -- and, perhaps, their lives.

Despite surging numbers of fatalities in New York and Washington and a rising tide of Florida editorial boards demanding action, DeSantis did not issue a statewide stay-at-home order until April 1. That made Florida the last state with more than 5,000 coronavirus cases to implement a statewide shutdown.

"Unlike some other governors, DeSantis ignored the obvious for too long, and Floridians likely are sicker for it," the Miami Herald said in a scathing editorial. "His statewide essential-services-only order, though welcome, is indeed, too late."

On March 22, the same editorial board has issued another action under the pointed headline: "Coronavirus is killing us in Florida, Gov. DeSantis. Act like you give a damn."

DeSantis drew widespread condemnation for resisting calls to close Florida's beaches to throngs of students partying for Spring Break. The governor finally relented, but not before thousands of kids gathered -- and then fanned out to homes and college campuses all over the nation, which likely helped spread the virus far and wide.

As far back as March 18, the Orlando Sun-Sentinel editorial board noted: "When governors in other states are more aggressive, it makes you wonder: What do they know that we don't? Why are they more aggressive than we are, when Florida has more cases than they do?"

The answer appears to be political: DeSantis is a close ally of President Donald Trump, who recently changed his official residence from New York to Florida. And until now, it seems DeSantis was following along with Trump's strategy of trying to minimize the danger and prevalence of the virus.

As the Palm Beach Post editorial board put it: "There's no denying it: DeSantis, like some -- but not other, more-conscientious -- Republican governors, is taking his marching orders from President Trump, who is still downplaying the intensity of COVID-19′s grip on the nation, ignoring medical experts and playing politics with Americans' very lives."

That's not an exaggeration. Florida is tied with Maine as the state with the largest share of population (21%) that is 65 years or older. The millions of seniors in the state -- many in retirement communities and nursing homes -- are especially vulnerable to coronavirus. DeSantis' long-delayed decision to issue a stay-home order put them at greater risk.

He has company in the slow-to-act governor's club.

Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee is resisting calls from the state's medical professional societies to issue a mandatory stay-at-home order. Mississippi's Tate Reeves sparked confusion by issuing an executive order that overruled efforts by local counties and cities to implement their own stay-at-home rules (Reeves finally relented and issued a statewide ban on gatherings of 10 or more).

In Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey's director of emergency management resigned, citing "lack of communication and transparency" as the state geared up to implement stay-at-home orders. And Texas Gov. Greg Abbott wasted valuable time by not ramping up testing and insisting that local cities, not the state, should lead the response to the virus.

President Trump and other leaders liken the fight against coronavirus to a war. If so, DeSantis and other field commanders should be demoted or court-martialed for dawdling as the invisible enemy gathered strength and began wreaking havoc in our homeland.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 155246

Reported Deaths: 4065
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25151785
Lake13570355
St. Joseph9145161
Elkhart8759135
Allen8129228
Hamilton6117113
Vanderburgh576760
Tippecanoe369515
Hendricks3268133
Monroe325738
Porter313649
Johnson3105128
Clark293961
Delaware293274
Vigo260538
Madison235093
Cass224022
LaPorte222858
Warrick192965
Kosciusko182625
Floyd179167
Howard162466
Bartholomew141558
Dubois138626
Marshall137426
Wayne126930
Henry125429
Grant125339
Boone122250
Hancock118245
Noble115933
Jackson112915
Dearborn94928
Morgan93740
Lawrence87436
Daviess87133
Gibson87111
Clinton84716
Shelby81730
LaGrange80115
Harrison76224
Knox75610
Putnam72816
Posey7146
DeKalb71011
Fayette66618
Steuben6278
Miami6095
Jasper5945
White58515
Montgomery58322
Greene53337
Scott51813
Decatur50439
Adams4837
Whitley4556
Clay4467
Ripley4418
Sullivan43714
Wells4288
Wabash4119
Starke4077
Orange40425
Huntington3905
Spencer3906
Washington3753
Franklin37225
Jennings36713
Fulton3523
Randolph3529
Jefferson3415
Pike33018
Carroll32513
Perry31014
Jay3056
Fountain2943
Tipton27523
Vermillion2411
Parke2323
Newton22511
Rush2154
Blackford2093
Owen2051
Martin1990
Crawford1581
Pulaski1521
Brown1393
Ohio1297
Benton1100
Union1100
Switzerland920
Warren781
Unassigned0234

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 190430

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin31466640
Cuyahoga19706682
Hamilton16687343
Montgomery10377189
Lucas8285373
Butler8276129
Summit6689265
Warren420064
Stark3796181
Mahoning3709286
Marion338850
Pickaway301146
Delaware287227
Lorain272889
Fairfield264457
Licking257966
Wood249681
Clark249456
Clermont245938
Greene229242
Trumbull2270134
Allen213073
Columbiana212887
Miami199958
Lake193659
Medina185642
Portage162068
Mercer152128
Wayne140269
Ross139436
Richland132324
Tuscarawas129024
Athens12052
Erie115553
Darke114451
Madison105415
Hancock104725
Auglaize100616
Putnam97427
Lawrence93025
Shelby90914
Muskingum8884
Geauga85950
Scioto8599
Belmont78827
Union7583
Ashtabula72648
Sandusky71122
Huron70912
Preble62418
Holmes61710
Seneca60114
Ottawa58430
Fulton53711
Henry47317
Jefferson4694
Clinton46413
Defiance46013
Jackson4598
Crawford4528
Fayette4498
Highland4304
Logan4233
Ashland3986
Champaign3983
Knox38416
Brown3793
Perry36611
Washington35124
Morrow3442
Hardin33613
Williams3354
Coshocton32112
Guernsey3218
Pike3000
Wyandot29513
Gallia29113
Van Wert2633
Meigs21012
Adams2096
Paulding2012
Carroll2007
Hocking1979
Monroe16118
Noble1290
Vinton963
Harrison803
Morgan780
Unassigned00
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