Florida’s slow response: a ‘mini-Trump’ governor who borrowed the president’s playbook

Florida's slow response: a 'mini-Trump' governor who borrowed the president's playbook

In the skies above southern Florida, Ron DeSantis, the state’s governor and self-confessed Donald Trump disciple, was mulling the morning’s developments as he gazed from the airplane window. Returning to Tallahassee after visiting a coronavirus testing site in Miami and issuing a regional stay-at-home order for the state’s four southernmost counties, he was preparing notes for an upcoming press conference and doubtless thinking about the birth of his third child . The beaches below him were not packed, as in the enduring images that will come to epitomize his lethargic response to the pandemic, but there were enough people milling about to alarm the elected leader of the only one of the “hotspot” states – those with Covid-19 cases at that stage in excess of 5,000 – not to have imposed blanket stay-at-home restrictions. “Were there people out there? Damn right there were,” DeSantis said of his observations at a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, one day after his Miami visit. “No matter what you do, you’re going to have a class of folks who just do whatever the hell they want to. Not everyone believes they need to govern themselves accordingly.” ‘If I get corona, I get corona’: the Americans who wish they’d taken Covid-19 seriously Read more The scenes on the beaches had clearly resonated with the governor. On Wednesday, before another 24 hours had passed, DeSantis finally issued the statewide shelter-in-place order for Florida’s population of 21 million – one in five of whom are older than 65 – that health officials, scientists and political opponents had been pleading with him to sign for more than two weeks. During that time, as the number of cases and fatalities grew, Florida’s beaches remained open, thousands flocked to church services (in defiance of local rules) and carefree seniors […]

Original Post www.theguardian.com

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