Florida Governor Ron Desantis has been taking a beating from the state-wide media and Florida Democrats for his handling of the coronavirus crisis.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the de facto leader of the Florida Democratic party, has aggressively called for a statewide “stay-at-home” order.
Gwen Graham, the former US Congresswoman, gubernatorial candidate, and a relentless DeSantis critic on Twitter, accused DeSantis of taking actions that spread the virus.
Others have viewed his consideration given to the Florida economy as driven by big business.
However, amid this criticism, comes comments from Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, that appear to support the actions of DeSantis.
Last Friday Cuomo required all workers in nonessential businesses across New York state to stay home. Less than a week later, on Thursday Cuomo said this:
“What we did was we closed everything down. That was our public health strategy. Just close everything, all businesses, old workers, young people, old people, short people, tall people. Every school closed, everything.”
“If you rethought that or had time to analyze that public health strategy, I don’t know that you would say quarantine everyone,” Cuomo admitted. “I don’t even know that that was the best public health policy. Young people then quarantined with older people was probably not the best public health strategy because the younger people could have been exposing the older people to an infection. “
Cuomo’s comments come just days after DeSantis questioned the wisdom of closing schools down. DeSantis said “there is no evidence to support the theory that closing the schools would slow the spread of the pandemic disease.”
DeSantis has also been criticized for giving consideration to the economic impact of policy decisions related to the coronavirus. DeSantis said there are ways to prevent the spread of the virus “without thrusting people into protracted economic misery.”
A report in the Miami Herald attemted to connect this approach to Trump. The report stated “DeSantis’ decisions have closely paralleled the comments and actions coming out of the White House, which has similarly emphasized the importance of the economy while avoiding sweeping national orders.”
However, on Thursday Cuomo addressed the consideration of the economy in dealing with the crisis. “How do you modify the health strategy to make it smarter but also start to get you back to work? People who have resolved can go back to work. That’s how I think you do it,” he said, adding it was not acceptable to focus either on the economy or on public health.
It will be interesting to see if Cuomo’s remarks will be the beginning of a bipartisan approach to addressing the health and economic consequences of the coronavirus.