Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was careful with his words Wednesday during his daily COVID-19 press conference as he seemed to distance himself from one of his biggest supporters – President Trump.
DeSantis, who was in The Villages earlier this week to open a testing site at the polo fields, was asked about the president’s plan to possibly loosen social distancing guidelines as the country struggles economically in the face of the deadly Coronavirus. Trump has gone so far as to say he expects to see “packed churches” on Easter, which is just two and a half weeks away.
“We are going to continue to have society respond to be able to fight this virus,” DeSantis said. “There is no chance we are just going to say, ‘The hell with it,’ and not even worry about it. That is going to be a part of our daily lives until we have a solution to this.”
DeSantis quickly defended Trump, however, by saying he doesn’t believe the president really wants to relax social distancing guidelines.
“I think what he said is you don’t have massive lockouts,” DeSantis said. “That does not mean you don’t have social distancing.”
The governor said there are ways to accomplish those goals without “thrusting people into protracted economic misery” that most likely would include some public health “challenges” as well.
“There’s no way we’re just going to walk away from any social distancing,” he reiterated. “We’re learning more and more about the virus, which is great. But there’s no treatment for it. There’s no anti-viral and there’s no vaccine.”
As of Wednesday night, the Florida Department of Health was reporting 1,977 cases in Florida, with 23 deaths and 1,665 people being monitored. More than 65,00 cases had been reported in the United States, with 921 deaths. And worldwide there were more than 466,800 people suffering from the disease, with 21,152 fatalities.
All of which means, DeSantis said, that everyone must continue to take precautions as the virus moves across society.
“I think there’s ways you can do that and still have a society that is doing more than simply on lockdown,” he said.