In Trumps must-win Florida, Covid-19 takes the lead – POLITICO

A health care employee administers a coronavirus test to a client in Tampa, Fla.|Octavio Jones/Getty Images

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.– Florida reported nearly 9,000 new coronavirus cases Friday, shattering its previous everyday record and prompting Gov. Ron DeSantis to pull back on his full-speed-ahead economic reopening method.
The spike in infections has framed Florida– a must-win election battlefield for President Donald Trump– as a state that is losing control of its pandemic reaction even as it prepares to host Republican National Convention events, including the presidents speech, in August.Advertisement
Florida on Friday early morning reported 8,942 brand-new coronavirus cases, a more than 60 percent boost from the previous daily high set June 23. The states rate of favorable tests was nearly 15 percent, a numerous of the daily standard simply a couple of weeks ago and an indicator that the jump in cases isnt tied to increased testing alone.
On Friday, DeSantis once again declined to issue a statewide mask order even as regions such as Palm Beach, Leon and Hillsborough counties rushed to enforce them.
” To do police and put criminal charges on that is something that probably going to backfire,” DeSantis stated. “Were going to continue to put out the guidance and were going to rely on individuals to make great judgment choices.”
Further making complex the photo, and Trumps chances in Florida, is a coronavirus-driven implosion of the states economy. On the same day the record case count was revealed, state economic experts stated Florida profits had missed out on estimates by more than $1.6 billion over the previous two months. That states unemployment rate is 14.5 percent.
For the Republican governor, it was all old news.
” Really, absolutely nothing has changed this week,” DeSantis informed reporters in Fort Myers on Friday.
DeSantis has actually exhibited an exasperated defiance in current weeks, lashing out at public health professionals and experts who expressed issue that Florida was getting back to business as normal too rapidly.
” We are where we are,” the governor stated Thursday when asked if the state would backtrack.
A day later, he backtracked.
Minutes after the Florida Department of Health reported the record daily case count, the DeSantis administration stated it would ban the on-site usage of alcohol in bars, which have actually been open given that the beginning of June and which have actually taken some blame for the uptick in cases.
During his remarks, DeSantis stated the state has sufficient hospital capability. And he stressed that the mean age of individuals infected has actually fallen from the mid-60s to 34, an age at which the ill are less likely to be or have signs hospitalized.
The ground could be moving rapidly, some health specialists stated.
” Hospitalizations are increasing gradually,” said Jill Roberts of the University of South Floridas College of Public Health. “Several medical facilities know this and are now talking about ceasing optional surgical treatments for a while.”
Some healthcare facilities are reversing visitor policies, extensive care admissions are increasing and concern over big public gatherings for the July Fourth holiday loom big, Roberts said.
The DeSantis technique of counting on people to voluntarily use masks has fallen short, and the state ought to get more aggressive, she stated.
” Methods of control that were optional (social distancing, wearing masks) are plainly not working well with this age group and it is time for obligatory policies, specifically those that need wearing masks in indoor environments,” she stated in an e-mail.
Democrats have pushed DeSantis to release a statewide mask order, indicating research studies that show that state mask requirements have actually helped slow the spread of infection.
” If you mandate mask use, the Covid spread modifications in those states,” stated George Wehby, a professor at the University of Iowa. “Its undebatable at this point that masks work. Mandating at the state level works.”
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat, accused DeSantis of playing politics.
” This is not about politics @GovRonDeSantis, this is about putting the health and wellness of Floridians first,” Fried tweeted. “Its time to take action, and require a necessary mask mandate statewide.”
Versus that complex public health and political backdrop, GOP officials are preparing the Jacksonville part of the Republican National Convention in August.
” Governor Ron DeSantis and Mayor Lenny Curry have regularly prioritized the health of all Floridians throughout this worldwide pandemic,” said Erin Isaac, a representative for the RNC host committee. “As we plan for an occasion that is 2 months away, we continue to follow their lead and will constantly put the health of our visitors and our city first.”
The increase in infections has offered an opening to Democrats DeSantis had actually dismissed during the early stages of the pandemic as he basked in Floridas fairly low infection rate.
In March, at the early start of the pandemic, DeSantis mandated a 14-day quarantine requirement for individuals concerning Florida from New York. Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, he trashed New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his action.
New york city now has one of the least expensive infection rates in the country and Cuomo has turned the script. This week, he on enforced travel restrictions from states with ballooning coronavirus numbers, consisting of Florida. On Friday, he used his states help.
” Our deal is open ended, however we can help,” Cuomo stated. “We remain in a position to provide any of the above, devices, personnel knowledge, ventilators, nationwide guard help, whatever they need.”
” And yes,” he stated, “we have all of the above.”

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More making complex the photo, and Trumps opportunities in Florida, is a coronavirus-driven implosion of the states economy. On the very same day the record case count was revealed, state economic experts said Florida earnings had missed out on price quotes by more than $1.6 billion over the previous 2 months. That states joblessness rate is 14.5 percent.
” If you mandate mask use, the Covid spread modifications in those states,” stated George Wehby, a teacher at the University of Iowa. On Friday, he used his states support.