For months, pro-vaccination groups have been criticizing the state of Florida and its governor, Ron DeSantis, for what they believe were lax pandemic measures. However, recent data shows that Florida is doing quite well in containing the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) compared to other states that have implemented strict restrictions.
According to the Florida Department of Health, the state has nine COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, tied with Hawaii as the two states with the lowest case rates in America. Overall, the U.S. is averaging 21 cases per 100,000 people.
Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that Florida’s COVID-19 caseload is below states like Vermont and Rhode Island that have high vaccination rates, as well as states like New York and California where governments have imposed restrictive measures.
“Without mandates or lockdowns, COVID-19 cases in Florida have decreased 90% since August… In addition to cases, hospitalizations have plummeted in our state. This has been accomplished by making monoclonal antibody treatments and vaccines widely available throughout our state while protecting Floridians from government overreach,” Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement on Oct. 27.
Florida had launched state-run monoclonal antibody sites in August, and over 147,000 citizens have benefited from the treatments. Hospitalizations during the period declined by 87 percent.
COVID-19 infections in young adults aged 18 to 24 have fallen by 93 percent since August. Among school-age children, infections have dropped by 57 percent.
The low infection numbers have made Orange County remove its state of emergency. In Seminole County, officials have the same line of thinking. In an interview with Fox35, Alan Harris, Seminole County Emergency Manager, said that the daily positivity rate is currently between three and five percent.
“We saw a study from the University of Florida that said approximately 80% of the population has some type of antibodies now well that’s getting close to herd immunity so that’s exactly where we wanted to get,” Harris said.
Meanwhile, the state of Florida has sued the Biden administration for the vaccine mandate order issued in September. The mandate requires private businesses with over 100 employees, facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid, and federal contractors to get their workers vaccinated against COVID-19. For federal contractors, the deadline for compliance is December 8.
“Just months ago Joe Biden was saying that it wouldn’t be appropriate or lawful for the federal government to mandate these COVID shots… But now we have somehow gone from 15 days to slow the spread to 3 jabs to keep your job. The federal government is exceeding their power and it is important for us to take a stand because in Florida we believe these are choices based on individual circumstances,” DeSantis said in an Oct. 28 statement.
Last week, Desantis had announced a Special Session of the Florida Legislature to protect workers from mandatory vaccinations and defend the rights of parents to opt their children out of quarantine measures and mask mandates.