Gov. DeSantis: Florida 'has flattened the curve' without 'draconian orders'

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose state has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, said on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that the state “has flattened the curve” without “draconian orders” like other states.

DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order earlier this month and was one of the last governors to do so in an attempt to curb the rate of infection in his state during the global coronavirus pandemic.

“I got to give credit to the people of Florida,” DeSantis said on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday.

He noted that six weeks ago, many critics were claiming that “Florida was going to be worse than New York.”

“It was constant, people saying that,” he added, acknowledging his state’s large elderly population, who medical experts believe are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

“If you look at what’s happened, that's not true,” DeSantis said. “New York, for example, has about 25 times the number of fatalities of Florida.”

“Right now, as of last night, we had 730 people statewide in the ICU,” he went on to say. “People said our hospitals are going to be overrun. We’ve actually increased hospital bed space and ICU bed space during the pandemic so there were fewer beds available in Florida in February than there are now.”

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As of Tuesday, Florida reported more than 27,058 COVID-19 cases and 823 deaths, according to Florida’s COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

New York has reported more than 247,000 coronavirus cases and more than 14,000 deaths, according to New York’s Department of Health.

“Florida has flattened the curve,” DeSantis said. “People have done a great job and I think we understand that you can do both, you can continue to fight COVID-19, but also get people back to work and have society function again.”

“I never did draconian orders here like you see in some of these other states where dad would get arrested or get cited for taking his daughter to the park. That doesn't work. We’ve never done that. We’ve been very, I think, reasonable with the people of Florida and they’ve responded,” he continued.

On Monday, DeSantis appointed some of Florida’s most powerful political leaders and business executives to a committee that will map out the state’s reopening from the coronavirus shutdown.

DeSantis appointments include several Florida mayors and the incoming state Senate president and House speaker. He also tapped executives from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, AT&T, Florida Power & Light, Publix, among others from the private sector.

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“We have a great task force with people from all over the state of Florida and all the different industries, particularly small business and we’re putting together a lot of great ideas for what the next phase looks like in Florida,” DeSantis said on Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.