Jun 26, 2020
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis June 26 COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis held a coronavirus press conference on Friday, June 26. DeSantis said that statewide mask requirements would not work and would “backfire”. Read the whole news briefing speech here.
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Governor Ron DeSantis: (00:22)
Well, good afternoon. I want to thank Dr. Antonucci for having us back at Lee Health. I was able to have a round table with some of the doctors and some other folks in the hospital and got a really good update on what’s going on here in southwest Florida.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (00:39)
What we’re seeing today, obviously, a lot of news saying a huge number of “cases.” Really nothing has changed in the past week in terms of we had a big test dump. We’ve been testing. 10 to 15% have been testing positive for really the last week, and that’s a huge change from where we were at the beginning of June when we were basically three or 4% in terms of the positivity statewide. And so the number of cases, if you tell me the positivity rate, if I’m going to get 75,000 test results like we did today, you’re going to get a certain number of cases. If I got 35,000 like we did earlier, obviously you’ll get less, but that’s really what we’re seeing in terms of an increased positivity rate, which is one of the major factors that’s driving the “cases.”
Governor Ron DeSantis: (01:26)
The last week of May, the positivity rates statewide was about 3% of all test results that were coming in were positive. And so that was very good. I mean, obviously we saw the cases go up in March throughout April, then start to decline, and then the positivity once we got into May was really low and steady for all of May and then into early June. We started to see a little bit of an increase in the positivity that second week of June. Some of that was driven by some hot spots around the state, but then some of it was driven particularly in the last two weeks by a lot of community transmission, particularly from the younger demographic. I will talk about that in a minute.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (02:15)
So that case particularly in the last week has trended up. It started creeping up the second week of June, but then the last two weeks has gone up. We obviously liked where we were throughout all of May and early June in terms of the positivity better. We’re also just seeing more cases in addition to positivity. We are doing more tests. The last week of May. We would get about 24,000 test results a day. The last seven days, we’ve gotten 45,000 test results a day, so that’s a pretty good clip in terms of getting test results in. And of course, if you have a stable positivity rate, the more tests you do, obviously the more cases you’ll discover. If our positivity was back down in the three, four, 5% range, we would definitely be getting more cases today than we were in May just simply because we’re testing more. So a higher positivity, more number of tests.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (03:10)
And then really probably the most significant change we’ve seen is a radical change in the median age of people who are testing positive. When we started at the beginning of March, really starting to test, the median age was in the 60s. Half the tests positive were people 60 or over, started going throughout most of April and May, usually in the low- to mid-50s, and then really in the last two to three weeks, you’ve seen a dramatic decline. First that went to 38, 37. Now, it consistently is 33, 34, 35. And so if you have a day where you have a median age of 33, it means half of the positive test results that come in are under that age. And so you’re talking about a lot of people in their 20s in particular, early 30s, and then even the ones who were above that median age. We’re seeing a lot of people in their late 30s and in their 40s.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (04:10)
Now, those groups by and large are going to be much less at risk for really serious consequences as we know with this virus. In the state of Florida we’ve had, I think about 86% of all the COVID-related fatalities have been in the age group of 65 or older, and there’ve been more COVID-linked fatalities over the age of 90 than there had been under the age of 65. So by and large, when you’re talking about folks 55 and under but certainly 35 and under, you’re talking about a much less of a risk group. Now, of course, if you have significant conditions, this is something that could certainly aggregate that, but that is really what we’re seeing.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (04:52)
And the community transmission is being driven by that 18- to 35-year-old group. In fact, the positivity rate for 15 to 44, so a little bit broader than that, is getting close to 20%. So that’s a lot different than where we were to the beginning of June. And if you go from June 1st until now, the number of cases from 25 to 34 have almost tripled just in less than a month now. So that’s a really, really big group of folks.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (05:27)
Part of, I think, the message is most of these people are asymptomatic. Most of them, if they do have symptoms, will be so mild that they would not even need to seek medical attention, but you are somebody that would potentially be able to spread the virus to more vulnerable groups, and so we’re want to send the message to folks in the younger demographic to understand that while this may not be affecting you negatively at the minute, if you’re carrying it by passing it along to folks who may have some health issues or may be advanced in age, that really could affect them very much. And so we just want to continue to remind people that.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (06:09)
When we started doing things in March, the goal remember was to “flatten the curve.” We wanted to preserve the healthcare system and its resources from being overwhelmed by the results of the virus, and Florida was able to do that. I mean, we were predicted to have hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations by the third week of April. We had a small fraction of that. What that is now, when you flatten the curve, you don’t have less infections necessarily. You just spread them out over a longer period of time.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (06:41)
But I think what it’s allowed us to do, and I think Larry can talk about it as well, is we’re in a much better position to be able to handle what would come down the pike. Remember, in March, there was a question about whether there would be enough PPE for folks in hospitals to be able to do. PPE is much better shape today than it was in March, in April. In March, we didn’t even know who. I mean, sometimes you wouldn’t even be able to test people. I mean, the tests weren’t widely available. They were usually only reserved for people that were symptomatic and that were older. Well, now we have mass testing. Obviously that’s one of the reasons we’re seeing a lot of positive cases in the younger asymptomatic group because you don’t have to have symptoms to go get a test. Well, hospitals can test anyone coming in when there is someone comes in for a procedure. If they’re going to be hospitalized for something other than COVID, they’re still being tested for COVID. And so you have the ability to do that in a way that just wasn’t present in March.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (07:41)
There’s also better treatments, better ways to deal with patients. I think the physicians have learned a lot. You do have things like Remdesivir that’s being used that I think has proven to have some positive effects, which is very, very good.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (07:56)
And then it’s also given us time to do even more to protect residents of longterm care facilities. Here at Lee Health, they have one of a number of facilities around the state, which the state has really worked to help set up in conjunction with systems like Lee Health as well as with other skilled nursing facilities, to have COVID-only nursing facilities so that if you have an outbreak at a longterm care facility, not all of those patients will require hospitalization, but if they’re contagious, you don’t want to leave them in the nursing home and then make the outbreak worse. So you have a place here at Lee Health. There’s other places around the state where those folks can be put and have a safe place where they’ll be able to be isolated. And that’s a really, really good thing. So we do have that, and so it’s certainly way better shape in terms of handling this than we were at the time.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (08:51)
We’ve heard a lot about social distance over the last few months. I mean, I guess most of the last few months. I mean, there was a couple of weeks’ period there where people weren’t talking about it when you had some big gatherings out there, but to me, given what’s going on with the-
Governor Ron DeSantis: (09:03)
Gatherings out there, but to me, given what’s going on with the younger demographic, seeing how you have more spread amongst people under the age of 40, it’s really important for folks who may be in some of those vulnerable groups to really understand that you’re seeing more community transmission amongst the younger groups. Most of them are probably not going to present with symptoms, and certainly not with very serious symptoms. So continue to be vigilant, continue to avoid crowds, continue to avoid contact with folks outside the home, as much as you can.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (09:37)
Most folks and the seniors and Florida have done a great job of doing that. Now obviously, as we got into May and we had a very low caseload, low positivity, got into June, COVID fell off the headlines, I think people were naturally just wanting to more get back into a normal swing of things. Well now you still want to be vigilant, particularly with a lot of younger carriers out there. So that is something if you’re 65 or older, if you’re medically vulnerable, please take the steps necessary to limit that type of close contact. But I’d also say for those who may be in the low risk groups, understanding that it may be circulating among some of your friends, you have a responsibility to be careful if you’re in contact with somebody who is more, more vulnerable.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (10:25)
The state and department of health, we’ve been stressing avoiding the three CS, which are closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places with many people nearby and close contact settings, such as close range conversations. And obviously, if you have all those, one, if you’re at a private home, packed in, no outdoor air, a lot of people, shoulder to shoulder, and then a lot of close contact touching or talking, that is going to be a bigger risk for transmission.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (10:57)
Now one of the things you’re seeing throughout the country, really from coast to coast in the Sun Belt, is you’re seeing more cases, particularly amongst young people throughout that entire region. And I don’t know exactly why that region as opposed to other places, but I think part of it may be as it gets hotter, people are going to want to go indoors more and be in the air conditioning. And the air conditioning is not going to be your friend when it comes to the virus. The virus can do much better in an enclosed air conditioned space than they’re going to be doing in terms of outdoor activities. And so outdoors is your friend, the sunshine’s your friend, the heat and humidity is your friend. So as you’re doing different things, please, please keep that in mind.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (11:43)
We’ve also, at the beginning of May when we did phase one, advised all Floridians that if you can’t socially distance, wear a mask to protect yourself and those around you. And then particularly, if you’re in businesses that are face to face, that have close contact, it’s important that you’re doing that to protect yourself and others. Continue to practice good hygiene, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. And of course, if you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work. Don’t go out and expose other people, and floridahealth.gov has got a lot of information on that. But at the end of the day, we’re seeing really, really big positive test results from our younger, less risky demographic in terms of the effects of this, but a lot of asymptomatic carriers and obviously could be asymptomatic transmitters. And that’s what I think the concern is particularly for our vulnerable population, that that seeps into some of those folks who would be more vulnerable to the virus.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (12:44)
But I want to turn it over to Larry, let him make some comments, and then obviously we’re going to hear from some of our physicians.
Dr. Larry Antonucci: (12:50)
Thank you Governor. First of all, I want to thank Governor DeSantis for being here with us today. We really do appreciate his attention to this, the pandemic here. Here at Lee Health, we have been seeing increased cases, both in our hospital and in our testing. Our positive test rate has been about 13% across the board since we began, but in the last week or so, it’s been over 20%. And the demographic is definitely shifting to a younger demographic with our average age being around 40 now instead of being much older early on. So we’re definitely seeing those cases.
Dr. Larry Antonucci: (13:25)
We have adequate capacity in our hospital right now. We have 1300 staff beds and 1600 licensed beds. Of interest is that if you look at our COVID positive patients that are in the hospital, only about 20 to 25% are actually requiring ICU care. So our ICU capacity is fine, or ventilator capacity is good, and as the governor mentioned, our PPE stockpile is much better than it was early on.
Dr. Larry Antonucci: (13:52)
So we are really trying to drive home the message of social distancing and mask wearing. This community had incredible resolve early on, and we were able to flatten the curve in a very dramatic way, as the governor mentioned, but I think we’re getting complacent. As I go around the community, I see a lot of people not wearing masks. And although you may be 25 and feel that you’re bulletproof, you have parents and grandparents and I bet you know someone who is overweight or diabetic or has heart disease or has lung disease and they are at risk. And the fact of the matter is that you’re going to put them at risk.
Dr. Larry Antonucci: (14:28)
So we really are trying to deliver a message, trying to get to the hearts and minds of the people in this community of why it’s important to wear a mask. And if you’re not wearing a mask, tell us why. We want to know why you’re not. Because for us, it’s about really putting resources towards education to the public, to let them know why it is important and how we can make a difference. And as we see this increase right now, we can flatten it again just like we did it before, but it’s going to take effort. It’s going to take the community to rally around this effort and do this.
Dr. Larry Antonucci: (14:59)
So that’s my message to the public today is please wear a mask when you’re in a crowded area, practice social distancing, good hand hygiene, all the things we’ve been talking about for four months now. And with that, I’m going to turn it over to Dr. Homolka.
Dr. Homolka: (15:15)
Thank you, and thank you, Dr. Antonucci and his staff. The leadership over the past three months during these trying times and Governor DeSantis for coming down to Southwest Florida and to Lee health, especially for meetings with us and discussions over the past several months have been helpful. Last time we were here, we had come up with a plan to open up elective surgeries that were closed. And thanks for the nursing, physicians, ancillary staff, we put those plans into action, ramped them up over several weeks to the point where we’re doing a lot of elective surgery now. Not quite a 100%, but we’ve made a long way and I think most patients are very happy. They feel very safe. They’re very confident.
Dr. Homolka: (15:56)
And I think going forward, hopefully we’ll get to where we were before. And I think patients should just realize that it’s a safe place to come and feel confident in their care that they’re going to get here and that there’ll be safe when they’re here, and hopefully we’ll get to a normal or a new normal very soon.
Dr. Larry Antonucci: (16:12)
Thank you. Dr. Maholick.
Dr. John Maholick: (16:14)
Thank you very much Larry. John Maholick, orthopedic surgery. Thank you again to Governor DeSantis for his leadership through this trying time. I just want to mirror Dr. Homolka’s comments about how things have changed at the hospital and also in our private healthcare offices. So in the private healthcare offices, also in the hospital, just expect that when you see your health care practitioner, you’re going to be asked to wear a mask. You’re going to be asked to socially distance in our waiting rooms, in our lobbies. When you come to those facilities, please expect that you won’t be able to bring extra people with you to your visits so that we don’t unnecessarily crowd too many people into a smaller space and potentially prevent even further spread. Certainly you’re going to be screened for any symptoms you may have or any comorbidities that might put you at risk.
Dr. John Maholick: (17:10)
And then just to mirror what Dr. Homolka had said as well about the elective surgery side, we still treat all patients that are going to have elective surgery as if they are potentially infected. So patients are asked to wear a mask. All the health care workers wear masks. We all practice good hand hygiene and make sure that we make the lowest risk possible to the patient and to the community so we can continue to provide important health care.
Dr. John Maholick: (17:40)
One of the messages we tried to spread last time was that the impact of the virus is far beyond the number of cases. If people don’t seek proper medical care and aren’t able to have timely care, then people suffer in other ways that may be more serious than the virus itself. So just wanted to put that message out there that it’s still … Even though there’s a rise in cases and there’s a rise in positivity, that it’s safe-
Speaker 3: (18:03)
… there’s a rise in cases and there’s a rise in positivity that it’s safe to come to your doctor’s office, safe to come to your healthcare facilities and seek care in this safe environment. Thank you.
Dr. Antonucci: (18:11)
Thank you. Dr. Stovall.
Dr. Stovall: (18:14)
Hi, good afternoon. Governor, thank you for coming today. Thank you for your support of our facility. Dr. [Antonucci 00:00:19], thank you for your leadership as well.
Dr. Stovall: (18:22)
As a member of the infection prevention leadership team and part of the incident command center, I can tell you that we started off all of our meetings throughout this entire pandemic with two goals in mind. We have to provide the care that our community partners need. We need to be sure that we’re there for our patients and their families. In order to do that, we have to care just as much about the people that work in our system, the medical staff, that work for us and the medical staff that work with us as well as our own staff that we employ here. Our goals are to keep everyone safe and the best way that we can implore you to help us do that and to partner with us is to do the things that Dr. Antonucci spoke about.
Dr. Stovall: (19:01)
We can all be a risk to someone else, and while we may not feel bad, we can be a risk to those people around us. We’re asking for responsible actions, we want you to live your life, not in fear. This is a new normal that we’ve all had to get used to. We don’t want you to be fearful, but we do want you to take those things that we know will help lessen disease and flatten the curve like our governor’s talked about. Thank you for your part in helping us to keep our healthcare workers and your neighbors healthy.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (19:35)
Great. Well, I want to thank the Lee Health again for being here. It’s great to be in Southwest Florida. Just to underscore what Dr. Antonucci said about there was a great job done really all throughout the state of Florida, March and April, had a tremendous May. Very low, steady as she go positivity, low case load, and even really into the first week of June. Then the last three weeks, we’ve seen it change. Well, I think now this is back in the news. I think people understand. Look, it was natural. It wasn’t much, I mean, I would do press events in May, I would never be asked about coronavirus. It was about all these other things. Now it’s something that they are. I think people just naturally just assumed it was behind us. Viruses don’t necessarily just go away. I think we’re seeing that now. We have an ability to just do some very easy things, just be very vigilant, and I think it’ll really make a big, big difference.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (20:32)
With that, take some questions.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (20:33)
First of all, Morgan [inaudible 00:20:37] with [inaudible 00:02:38]. Good afternoon. The experts sitting next to you at this very table and across the country, across the world, agree that masks save lives. They stopped the spread of the disease. Why not mandate it?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (20:49)
Well, I don’t think Larry is saying to mandate it. I think he’s told me he thinks it’s something that we provide education. We did an advisory at the beginning of May. We’ve advised that that’s something that could make an impact. At the same time, to do police and put criminal penalties on that is something that would backfire. You have seen some localities require it. They’re going to have to figure out how they’re going to use kind of the long arm of the law to enforce it or not. A lot of businesses will require when you’re going in, and that’s fine as well.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (21:24)
But a lot of what we’re seeing, I think with like the younger people, if they’re partying at somebody’s house or something, they’re probably not wearing masks. I mean, let’s just be honest with that. You really would need to change the behavior there, which I think would be great, but at the same time, it’s a little bit different.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (21:41)
I think the businesses have done a good job when people come in, creating a safe environment. I think a lot of customers are going to want to see that, so they have every incentive to want to do it.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (21:51)
We’re going to continue to put out the messaging. We continue to put out the guidance. We’re going to trust people to make good decisions.
Sarah Gerard: (22:02)
Here. Sarah [Gerard 00:04:03], [inaudible 00:22:04] News. Do you, like the president, think that the economic impact of unemployment and the stress this is putting on people is actually more dangerous than the virus itself?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (22:13)
I mean, I wouldn’t even put it in those terms. I mean, we know a lot more about the virus now than we did at the beginning of March. We understand if you look at, I mean, Florida, the incidents in terms of mortality and morbidity is dramatic in terms of the ages it affects versus the ages that typically have much lower impacts. That’s why we’ve done so much with the longterm-care facilities. Some other States did it a different way. I think with the way we did it has been successful, that’s why we’re doing all these things, to have skilled-nursing facilities that are COVID only, to be able to have a safe place for folks to be able to isolate so that they don’t infect other nursing home residents. That’s why we’ve messaged really since the beginning of March to the folks who are advanced in years, 65 and plus, those who have underlying conditions, to avoid crowds and understand that close contact could put you at risk of contracting the virus. I think that that’s really the way to go.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (23:16)
Having people working is a good thing. There’s not been major outbreaks linked to very many businesses. I think a lot of it’s been social. Now you have had agriculture outbreaks, but that’s not because they’re working. It’s because a lot of them live very close together, and so the close confines are good areas of transmission.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (23:36)
But we went to Phase One at the beginning of May and we had the best COVID results we’ve ever had all through May and the beginning of June. I mean, positivity was low. The cases were low. Things were going really well. It showed that you could do things economically and continue to keep your eye on the ball with the virus. I think just what’s happened since in the last few weeks is I think it’s more just people want to be social. They want to interact. That’s why you’re seeing it so much with the younger folks, who quite frankly, are at much less risk. I mean, and they want to interact and they understand the risks to them. It’s caused some spread there. But I think that the older folks have still been very vigilant, very cautious and have really taken efforts to protect themselves. I think that that’s what they should be done.
Speaker 4: (24:20)
What about [crosstalk 00:24:22] bars?
Speaker 5: (24:23)
Governor DeSantis, [inaudible 00:24:22], NBC, here. You mentioned that there’s been a bit of testing done, that more people are being tested and others, more younger, asymptomatic people who are being tested positive. But also in the last few weeks, we have seen our hospitalizations go up. We’ve also seen our caseloads consistently go up the past few weeks as well. We’re quickly becoming a hotspot. Why aren’t you doing more now to address this problem, like Texas has also done to try and [inaudible 00:24:47] the problem there? Why aren’t we seeing that here?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (24:57)
Speaker 5: (24:57)
What do you mean? Why-
Governor Ron DeSantis: (24:57)
What did Texas do?
Speaker 5: (24:57)
Texas is pausing their reopening. They’ve added more limitations [inaudible 00:24:57] places indoors and all [crosstalk 00:24:59]
Governor Ron DeSantis: (24:59)
Did you see what the DBPR secretary did this morning?
Speaker 5: (25:05)
I did. Absolutely. But [crosstalk 00:25:06]
Governor Ron DeSantis: (25:05)
Texas did that. They just did that. What else has Texas done?
Speaker 5: (25:09)
Well, look, there’s a Twitter hashtag right now with people in our community, all over the state, saying they’re asking for you to resign because you haven’t done enough. There’s a lot of concern in the community. And whether or not, I’m asking how you’re planning to address that, because right now all I’ve see is that you’re asking people to wear masks and keep distant and stay vigilant. All that’s fantastic, but there’s a lot of real concern in our community right now, so I’m just trying to get those answers.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (25:34)
Right. One of the reasons why we’re coming here, one of the reasons why we’re showing what we’re doing is because we want to continue to advise folks of where we’re seeing the issues in terms of the transmission, which is in the younger demographic, which is in the social situations, we believe, which just naturally occurs. You did see major action taken by DBPR. You didn’t admit that until I told you about it. Then you’ve seen other things that are going to continue to be done.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (26:04)
These nursing facilities that we’ve done. Larry, what do you have 50 patients there boarding?
Speaker 3: (26:10)
Governor Ron DeSantis: (26:10)
30? Mid-30s? That’s huge to take action to protect our most vulnerable. We’re going to continue to take action to protect those who really are the ones who were vulnerable to this virus. We’re going to continue to do that. We’ve stepped up our ability to do that since May, and actually even since June, because we brought in more of these facilities on. That’s what you want to do to keep people safe. But I want to see the positivity rate go down. But at the same time, an individual case, to me, I’ve said from the beginning, is not the most important thing to look at because as you see the cases shift younger, that’s not going to be as significant clinically as if you have nursing home outbreaks or outbreaks amongst elderly who are going to be more vulnerable.
Speaker 6: (26:58)
Governor, [crosstalk 00:26:58]-
Speaker 7: (27:00)
…With Fox Four News. I just have a quick question. Piggybacking off what the DBPR did, are we going to see more measures? You know, whether it’s scaling back the capacity of restaurants?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (27:08)
No, no, no. So here’s the thing, the phase one. When people follow the guidelines, we’ve not had any problems. You’ve not had any issues. The reason why DBPR took it is because you had people that weren’t following it. There was widespread noncompliance, and that led to issues. And so, folks, just follow the guidelines. We’re going to be in good shape. When you depart from that then it becomes problematic. And so I think that that’s been clear from the beginning. Remember, beginning of May, we went to this. You didn’t see any problems. Very, very good solid May, beginning of June. You know, now you’ve started to see more, but part of that is less business than it is a social interactions.
Speaker 8: (27:53)
We’ve been talking to-
Evan Dean: (27:54)
Evan Dean with NBC2 here. You had said that we want to trust people to make the right decisions, follow the advisories, wear masks. But you had also said that people haven’t been compliant with the guidelines, a number of people aren’t wearing masks. Can people be trusted to do the right thing and wear a mask voluntarily?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (28:15)
So I think that when people saw this fall off that out of the news May wasn’t as big, at least in Florida, people weren’t talking about it as much. Then you had two weeks of protest where nobody was talking about it really. It was like coronavirus was no longer here. I think that people looked at that and decided, “You know, yeah, we’re back to normal. Let’s kind of go back and do our thing.”
Governor Ron DeSantis: (28:40)
And I think now people understand that you still need to be able to do the basic social distancing and just take the basic precautions to be able to protect yourself, but particularly your family members. I mean, that’s really something that’s very, very important. And you know, there’s been areas where, I mean, for example, we had a 25 person gathering mandate, a limit, a prohibition, in place statewide until I believe June 4th. Were there gatherings bigger than 10 people going around? Did you ever see that? Yeah, I think you did. They’re still in place in South Florida. I know you’ve seen a lot of big gatherings there.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (29:17)
And so the idea that you’re just going to mandate and selectively prosecute people, I don’t think that that’s necessarily going to work. I do think what will work is consistent messaging, letting people know what they can do to help protect themselves and to protect others. And then you obviously can have local folks if they want to do different ordinances, quite frankly, there’s parts of Florida where it just wouldn’t make sense. I mean, because you don’t have the same cases, it’s not something where the incidences is high and I think it would present some problems. You’ve also had some sheriffs come out saying they won’t enforce any types of those mandates. So I think at the end of the day, we advised it almost two months ago. We’ve continued to do it. And I think that’s the better approach than to try to prosecute someone criminally for it.
Speaker 5: (30:08)
Do you have any reaction to the quarantine measures that have been put in place by other states for people traveling from Florida to say New York, New Jersey, Connecticut? Do you agree with those measures? Or are you concerned it might hurt tourism because people might not want to come here?
Governor Ron DeSantis: (30:21)
Well, look, when we did that from New York, I mean, we were in a situation where most of the people fleeing there were going to southern Florida. So it wasn’t just doing it for my health. I think we were doing it because we were concerned that that was going to accelerate the outbreak in southern Florida. Obviously we don’t have as much concern about that. I think the virus has run its course in New York. And so that was why we did it. I mean, they got to do what they got to do. But I’d say our situation here is much different than what you were seeing in New York City. If you compare the fatality rate per capita between Florida and New York, I mean, they have a 10 times more fatalities per capita than we do. We are testing a lot of people. Obviously we’re getting a lot of younger asymptomatic people testing positive, but in terms of the disease burden, it was much different there than it is here.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (31:12)
Now, obviously we want to continue to work to have fewer folks in that younger demographic test positive. We are working on that. I know folks throughout the state are working on that as well, but that’s a different problem, I think, than what you saw earlier. And I think they did a thing with the vice president. Dr. Birx said today, talking about what’s going on in the Sun Belt and just pointing out we’ve seen a lot of dramatic case increases. We’ve not necessarily seen as dire clinical consequences as you saw in those areas. And she made the point that it is a little bit different.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (31:45)
So, but we are very much in the fight as we’ve been the whole time. We have great capacity with our healthcare system. I mean, not only hear what Larry has, around the state, very, very good. They’re well positioned to help people if they need help. We have the adequate PPE. We have mass testing. Anyone that comes in the hospital can get tested now. The treatments have been a lot better. And you know, we’ve done even more to protect the most vulnerable in our longterm care facilities. And so a much better position now to be able to help folks to the extent that they would need help. But obviously we want to make sure that we’re taking the measures like they did the first time going through March and April.
Governor Ron DeSantis: (32:28)
And at the end of the day, folks understand the issue now. They understand it’s back. They understand that it’s something that we’ve got to deal with. And I think a lot of people are going to want to do that. So I really appreciate folks like Lee Health. What you’ve done to put forth a very strong, consistent message to the community. And we’re going to continue working with them and other folks to make sure that the message continues to get out and that folks will heed some of the advice. A lot of this stuff is very simple. These are not earth shattering actions that need to be taken. A lot of simple actions can go a very long way. And particularly for folks who may be in those younger demographics it can make a big, big difference. All right, thank you.
Speaker 9: (33:12)
Governor, I have one more question.