Speaking in Port Charlotte, Florida, on Thursday, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis reacted harshly to speculation that the Biden administration might institute travel restrictions on the state.
McClatchy reported on Thursday, “The Biden administration is considering whether to impose domestic travel restrictions, including on Florida, fearful that coronavirus mutations are threatening to reverse hard-fought progress on the pandemic.”
DeSantis fired: “I think it would be unconstitutional, it would be unwise, and it would be unjust,” adding that “restricting the right of Americans to travel freely throughout our country while allowing illegal aliens to pour across the southern border unmolested would be a ridiculous, but very damaging farce.”
He continued: “We will not back down, and if anyone tries to harm Floridians or target us, we will respond very swiftly.”
“People have asked me about, there was some type of report about potential travel restrictions on Americans and on Floridians, and I think it’s an absurd report that they would be doing that; I think it would be unconstitutional, it would be unwise, and it would be unjust,” DeSantis began. “If you think about it, restricting the right of Americans to travel freely throughout our country while allowing illegal aliens to pour across the southern border unmolested would be a ridiculous, but very damaging farce. So we will oppose it 100%; it would not be based in science; it would purely be a political attack against the people of Florida.”
It’s unclear why they would even try talking about that; just look at the COVID situation in the state of Florida — so since December, the last couple months, Florida’s cases per capita compared to the rest of the country: 28th. 27 other states higher per capita cases, and for the entire pandemic, it’s a similar story. Hospitalizations per capita over this time period, Florida ranks 30th. 29 other states have higher per capita hospitalizations.
Fatalities per capita for this same period, Florida ranks 42nd. 41 states have higher per capita fatalities. So, since December 1, well over half the country has seen much worse COVID results than here in Florida.
But all you have to do, too, is just look at some of the trends. ED visits for COVID-like illness [is] down 60% in Florida over the last 30 days. That’s the number one indicator for COVID spread. Hospitalized patients are down about 35% in Florida statewide over the last three weeks. And don’t forget, over the winter, Florida peaked at much less level than we did over the summer months. And we were way less per capita than a lot of lockdown states that are always cited as being “the right way to do it.”
Meanwhile, we’ve vaccinated the most people of any state in the age bracket where most of the fatalities occur: age 65 and plus. We have now, reporting about 1.6 million seniors that have received a shot; that’s about 35% of our gigantic senior population, which is almost 4.5 million. We are number one for shots for seniors; we’ve done 75% of all shots administered in Florida have gone to senior citizens, and the percentages of seniors that have been vaccinated is one of the highest in the country and it continues to grow every day.
And so any attempt to restrict or lock down Florida by the federal government would be an attack on our state done purely for political purposes.
Now, we’ve had to stand by Floridians over these many, many months, even in difficult circumstances, even when it was not easy to do. We’ve saved their jobs time and time again. We’ve preserved small businesses time and time again, and we’ve preserved the right of parents to send their children to school in person. You look around the country, a lot of kids haven’t been in school since March of 2020. It’s an absolute disgrace. We led very early on that, and we’re much better for it.