“I do support the governor’s decision knowing everything that he’s doing, having had personal conversations with him and speak[ing] to him about how he’s looking at the numbers, managing things and really asking people to be aware of the tools that are out there for them,” Mast said on Thursday.
He acknowledged that Florida residents should “make wise decisions for themselves based upon their own personal risk.”
During a news conference on Tuesday DeSantis said, “We’re not shutting down, we’re going to go forward, we’re going to continue to protect the most vulnerable, we’re going to urge, continue to advise, particularly our elderly population, to maintain social distancing, avoid crowds.”
He also said many of those getting sick are young and thus unlikely to suffer serious illness or death.
DeSantis said much of the two-week spike in confirmed infections that pushed the daily total past 2,700 on Tuesday can be traced to farmworkers or businesses. A few positive diagnoses led to widespread testing that uncovered high percentages of asymptomatic or barely symptomatic cases.
Mast stressed the importance of people making choices and managing risks for themselves “because that’s what ultimately has to be done.”
“We have to look internal,” Mast said. “We have to say, ‘What are our risks? Does somebody in my family have cystic fibrosis or something else or something that could hurt the lungs? And do we think that we might come in contact with somebody? Do we want to put somebody else at risk and manage that for ourselves?”
“That has to be the way we move forward and that’s what governor Desantis is doing well,” he continued.
As of Thursday, more than 85,900 people in Florida have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 3,000 people have died, according to the Florida Department of Health.
Fox News’ Frank Miles and The Associated Press contributed to this report.