Outraged by reports that Governor Ron DeSantis had failed to issue a statewide stay-at-home order because no one at the White House had “recommended that to me,” state Senator Perry Thurston (D-Ft. Lauderdale) on Wednesday called on the governor to assume command of the state he was elected to lead.
“Governor DeSantis, your marching orders do not come from President Trump. They come from the people of Florida,” said Senator Thurston. “And the people are demanding that you protect their health and welfare by issuing a statewide stay-at-home order.”
Since the first confirmed cases appeared in Florida over a month ago, criticism has been steadily growing over the governor’s failed piecemeal approach to combatting the deadly cornonavirus, and hesitancy to take charge with decisive actions such as immediately closing the packed beaches throughout the state during and after spring break.
As local governments have stepped in to fill the vacuum by enacting curfews and other measures to safeguard the public, the governor has continued to resist the growing number of officials who have been clamoring since last month for a statewide stay-at-home order.
In the intervening weeks, South Florida has seen an explosion of cases, and, as the disease spread creeps northward, a mounting fear that hospitals and medical staff throughout the state will be quickly overwhelmed.
Responding to reporters’ questions yesterday about an epidemiologist’s recommendation that a blanket stay-at-home order be issued for the state the governor said “no one had said that to me thus far.” The epidemiologist, a professor at Washington State University advising the White House on Covid-19, said he made the recommendation to Florida’s Surgeon General on Monday, according to the news report.
“While our own governor sits, hat in hand, patiently waiting for instructions from the White House, Florida has seen the number of positive cases exceed 6,000, and the death toll is approaching 100,” said Senator Thurston. “Governors in other states have not hesitated to act decisively and immediately as the crisis demanded, many of them issuing statewide stay-at-home orders to halt the virus’ transmission. Governor DeSantis needs to step up and do the same.”