DeSantis lamented that the formula being used to administer federal funding to states is based on unemployment rates at the end of 2020, suggesting it penalizes a state like Florida that has kept business solvent and kept individuals employed.
"Those lockdowns have not worked, they’ve done great damage to our country. We can never let something like this happen again," DeSantis said during a press conference on Tuesday. "Florida took a different path – we’ve had more success as a result."
The Florida Republican added that by awarding the funds based on that formula, instead of by state population, the government is favoring states that have handled the pandemic ineffectively – like New York, California and Illinois.
During a separate press conference in Naples on Wednesday, DeSantis credited "different policies" for the fact that the Sunshine State is doing "much better" than states like New York and New Jersey.
"For age 65 and up, which is where we focused most of our efforts protecting our seniors. There’s 40 states in this country that have higher per capita mortality for seniors for COVID than the state of Florida and yet we’re open for business, our unemployment’s 4.8%," DeSantis said. "I could be under 4% [unemployment] if I had leisure and hospitality back where it was … some of these lockdown states, they’re 8% or 9% on unemployment and they have worse COVID results – and California’s done worse than us too."’
DeSantis said on Wednesday that nearly two-thirds of all the state’s seniors have received doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
"If you are a senior citizen, you were less likely to die with COVID in Florida than you were in California even though they are the quintessential lockdown, drag-out, close schools, close businesses state."
Meanwhile, DeSantis is dealing with renewed criticism as images emerge of maskless Spring Break revelers flooding beaches in places like Miami Beach.
Health experts have warned of a surge in cases following spring break travel.
According to data from the CDC, over the last seven days Florida has reported more than 144 virus cases for every 100,000 people.