President Biden and Governor DeSantis Clash Over Florida’s Lack of COVID-19 Restrictions

by Sheri-Kae McLeod

United States President Joe Biden and Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis have different ideas on how to deal with the state’s current COVID-19 crisis.

Florida along with Texas account for one-third of all the new COVID-19 cases in the country. And Broward County, home to the largest percentage of Caribbean nationals in the state, has seen a massive increase in hospitalizations in the last three weeks.

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Last week, President Joe Biden addressed the COVID-19 crisis in Florida and blasted Governor DeSantis for what he calls a lack of leadership. President Biden said if the Governor does not want to impose any state-wide restrictions, he should at least allow local entities to do so.

“Florida and Texas, account for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country. Just two states. We need leadership from everyone. And if some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it. I say to these governors, “Please, help.” But if you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives,” President Biden said on August 3rd.

But the comments drew the ire of Governor DeSantis, who said he will continue to stand in Biden’s way as long as the President continues to request mask mandates, mandatory
vaccination and other restrictions.

“He’s imported more virus from around the world by having a wide open southern border,” DeSantis said. “You have hundreds of thousands of people pouring across … and it’s not just from Mexico … you have over 100 different countries where people are pouring through. So, he’s not shutting down the virus, he’s helping to facilitate it in our country.”

The Governor also said that he will not be allowing schools to impose any mask mandate, maintaining that it should be a decision of parents.

“Joe Biden is suggesting if you don’t do lockdown policies, you should quote, ‘get out of the way’ … if you’re coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I’m standing in your way,” DeSantis said before receiving a round of applause from residents and local leaders.

The one thing that both President Biden and Governor DeSantis do agree on is that all eligible Americans should get vaccinated. Currently, 63 percent of Florida residents 12 and older are vaccinated. The vaccination rates are higher in South Florida, with 81 percent of eligible people vaccinated in Miami-Dade, 72 percent in Broward and 67 percent in Palm Beach.

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