Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches The Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Cure Violence Global founder Gary Slutkin says violence and epidemics follow same patterns; Global death toll surpasses half a million GOP committee chair: ‘It would help’ if Trump would wear a mask occasionally MORE (R) said Tuesday that his state is “not going back” on reopening as thousands of new COVID-19 cases continue to be reported every day.
DeSantis told reporters that the state will not follow Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) move to pause reopening, according to Axios.
“We’re not going back, closing things,” he said. “I don’t think that that’s really what’s driving it. People going to a business is not what’s driving it. I think when you see the younger folks — I think a lot of it is more just social interactions, so that’s natural.”
When reporters asked if DeSantis would encourage people to stay home, he said social distancing was being recommended throughout the reopening process and that keeping the elderly and vulnerable safe was Florida’s priority.
“We’re open. We know who we need to protect. Most of the folks in those younger demographics, although we want them to be mindful of what’s going on, are just simply much much less at risk than the folks who are in those older age groups,” he said.
Florida has recorded more than 5,000 new COVID-19 cases per day since last Wednesday. On Saturday, the state documented its highest single-day increase with 9,585 new cases, according to The New York Times’s data.
The state’s health department has counted 152,434 cases and 3,505 deaths in total.
Currently, more than 50 percent of the new infections in the U.S. are in states such as Florida, Texas, California and Arizona with hot spots, according to Axios.
Anthony FauciAnthony FauciThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Cure Violence Global founder Gary Slutkin says violence and epidemics follow same patterns; Global death toll surpasses half a million Governors urge Pence to promote mask-wearing The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Supreme Court ruling marks big win for abortion rights groups MORE, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified in front of a Senate committee Tuesday that states that are “skipping over” the thresholds in the federal reopening guidelines, which he said is leading to the increases in cases.
Florida’s current phase of reopening does not limit how many people can be present in stores and gyms. Bars can hold half of their capacity at this time, but Florida prohibited alcohol sales there due to the rising numbers.
The governor of Texas reimposed the closure of bars and limited restaurants to 50 percent capacity on Friday after the state experienced a jump in cases.