There's about 33,000 of my fellow Floridians that are dead now. And that's incredibly sad, tragic and beyond unfortunate. So how are we doing? Well, we're slugging through it like the rest of the country is and just doing the best we can. — Rep. Charlie Crist
There's about 33,000 of my fellow Floridians that are dead now. And that's incredibly sad, tragic and beyond unfortunate. So how are we doing? Well, we're slugging through it like the rest of the country is and just doing the best we can. — Rep. Charlie Crist
A year into the pandemic, Florida is booming and Republican Gov. DeSantis is taking credit
"Everyone told me I was wrong," DeSantis, a Republican, said in a fundraising appeal on Tuesday, drawing attention to his defiance against the pandemic. "I faced continued pressure from radical Democrats and the liberal media, but I refused to back down. It's clear: Florida got it right."

As many parts of the country embark on an uneasy march toward normalcy, Florida is not only back in business -- it's been in business for the better part of the past year. DeSantis' gamble to take a laissez faire approach appears to be paying off -- at least politically, at least for now, as other governors capturing attention in the opening phase of the pandemic now face steeper challenges.

Despite far fewer rules and restrictions, Florida lands nearly in the middle of all states on a variety of coronavirus metrics. The state has had about 3% more Covid-19 cases per capita than the US overall, but about 8% fewer deaths per capita. More than 32,000 Floridians have died of Covid-19, and the state's per capita death rate ranks 24th in the nation.

... DeSantis has prohibited cities and counties from fining people for refusing to wear masks and is stirring outrage among local officials by pushing to strip their authority to put such rules in place at all.


Throughout the pandemic, it's that defiant and often combative DeSantis who has increasingly become the darling of Republicans. He declines most interview requests, including from CNN, even as he frequently appears on Fox News and other propaganda platforms. He has been locked in one fight after another with the state's media over transparency on Covid statistics and other issues.

Yet his policies have boosted his standing inside his party, all but certainly closing the door to any Republican challenges. Potential Democratic contenders are already circling.

... Rep. Charlie Crist -- who served as Republican governor of the state from 2007 to 2011 and switched parties in 2012 -- is among the Democrats thinking about challenging DeSantis for re-election next year. He said he intended to make up his mind before summer.

Asked how he thought Florida had withstood the pandemic, Crist said: "It's a mixed bag, to be candid."

"We have a light at the end of the tunnel feeling and that really is a godsend," Crist told CNN in an interview in his office here. "On the other hand, there's about 33,000 of my fellow Floridians that are dead now. And that's incredibly sad, tragic and beyond unfortunate. So how are we doing? Well, we're slugging through it like the rest of the country is and just doing the best we can."

Crist and other Florida Democrats are calling for a US Justice Department investigation into whether DeSantis gave preference to donors after invitation-only vaccines clinics were set up in at least two upscale communities. The exclusive Covid-19 clinics allowed about 6,000 people to jump ahead of tens of thousands of seniors on waitlists in Manatee and Charlotte counties, where the drives happened.

"Was there preference given to certain Caucasian wealthy, Republican communities?" Crist said. "Because it certainly looks like it."
Read the full article: https://www.cnn.com/2021/03/17/politics/ron-desantis-covid-florida/index.html