STATEWIDE — Florida has been fully reopened for almost a week, and experts are arguing whether Gov. Ron DeSantis's decision was motivated by science or politics.
What You Need To Know
- Doctor argues science was not taken into account
- Political analyst says politics, economy were big deciding factors
- RELATED: Florida Lifts COVID-19 Restaurant Rules, Halts Mask Penalties
“We just opened colleges, and we’ve started seeing university openings causing increased cases, which would then translate potentially to spread in the community, so why would we reopen everything on top of that?” asked Dr. Michael Muszynski, a pediatric infectious disease specialist who is on the COVID-19 Expert Panel for the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In a news conference Friday, the governor pointed to a decline in cases since July as reasoning for reopening. He said the lifted restrictions would allow more people to get back to work.
But Muszynski argues the state should also focus on week-to-week cases per 100,000 people. He says Floridians are several times above the safest threshold of 10 or fewer cases.
“It perplexes me why we reopened now,” he said. “Why we weren’t waiting.”
Political analyst Frank Torres explains the governor had a lot to consider when it came to reopening, from the struggling economy to public health.
“I think it was a strong combination of both politics and science, but whenever the two don’t agree, you’re forced to make tough decisions like the governor did, and I think he put the politics over the science this time,” Torres said. “Florida is the residence of President Donald Trump and I think it’s tough for President Trump to push a plan or an agenda of re-opening the country when his own home state isn’t open.”
DIGITAL EXTRA: Political expert Frank Torres argues @GovRonDeSantis' decision to fully reopen Florida could impact the presidential election - as well as his future runs. @MyNews13 #n13covid19 pic.twitter.com/xBIee8TpOW— Rebecca Turco (@RebeccaTurcoTV) October 1, 2020
DeSantis was criticized for not having any medical doctors in his Re-Open Florida Task Force executive committee, which is made up of political and big business leaders. However, there are some doctors listed on the task force's web page under "Industry Working Group on Agriculture, Finance, Government, Healthcare, Management and Professional Services."