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Under Pressure, Florida Governor Finally Orders Residents To Stay Home

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With stress mounting from public well being officers and political leaders nationwide, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday reversed course and ordered residents throughout the state to remain at residence to assist scale back the toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

The order takes impact at 12:01 a.m. Friday, April three.

Florida joins greater than 30 different states and the District of Columbia in strikes which have equally restricted residents and companies. DeSantis’ choice got here as Texas and Pennsylvania took related motion.

For greater than every week, DeSantis stated a statewide order was pointless as a result of many components of the state ― notably massive swaths of central and northern Florida — had few if any instances. When requested in regards to the situation Tuesday, the governor stated he wasn’t issuing an order as a result of he had not been instructed by the White House coronavirus job pressure that an order was essential.

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DeSantis spoke to President Donald Trump in regards to the outbreak earlier than his announcement.

DeSantis stated what modified his thoughts was Trump’s name on Sunday for the nationwide social-distancing guidelines to be extended by way of April due to mathematical fashions exhibiting how dying tolls would soar if the inhabitants didn’t observe the really useful public well being pointers for staying at residence. Trump has not issued a nationwide stay-at-home order.

“That was a signal,” DeSantis stated. “It’s a very serious situation.”

Scott Gottlieb, a former Food and Drug Administration commissioner beneath Trump who has been outspoken on the necessity for officers to behave to quell the outbreak, stated in a tweet:

“New actions simply introduced by Florida’s Governor to implement harder mitigation will hopefully scale back unfold of #COVID19 in state. Florida can also be testing a lot lower than different states and wishes extra screening capability to maintain up with its increasing epidemic.”

Before DeSantis reversed course, Gottlieb stated in an interview with CNBC earlier Wednesday that Florida and Texas are “wild card” states that would go away the United States with extra deaths from the coronavirus in the event that they don’t take harder actions.

Many public well being consultants had strongly criticized Florida officers for permitting massive spring-break seaside gatherings in mid-March, elevating issues that the events may very well be spreading COVID-19, the illness brought on by the coronavirus. Even extra not too long ago, massive seaside and sandbar events in late March have introduced condemnation.

DeSantis resisted closing all seashores through a state decree, however most counties in Florida have now executed so on their very own.

The Florida order is much less restrictive than that of another states. In addition to widespread exceptions for errands deemed important, similar to grocery buying and selecting up prescriptions, it permits folks to nonetheless attend spiritual companies at church buildings and synagogues and handle kinfolk and their pets.

The Florida governor had already ordered nightclubs and restaurant eating rooms throughout the state to shut and restricted gatherings of 10 or extra folks on seashores. The state had already closed all faculties.

Several of Florida’s largest cities and counties — together with all of South Florida, which on Wednesday afternoon had about three,900 COVID-19 instances — had earlier ordered residents to remain at residence.

Public well being and political leaders praised DeSantis’ order Wednesday, though some stated he ought to have acted earlier.

“Thank you, Governor, for making the right call,” stated Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a statewide elected member of the Florida Cabinet. She famous she requested DeSantis to situation the order on March 20 to avoid wasting lives.

As of Tuesday morning, Florida had about 7,000 confirmed instances of COVID-19, almost 900 hospitalizations and at the least 87 deaths. More than 60% of the instances had been in South Florida.

Use Our Content This story might be republished without spending a dime (details).

Phil Galewitz: pgalewitz@kff.org”>pgalewitz@kff.org, @philgalewitz

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