With the number of coronavirus cases and deaths continuing to climb in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis is trying to project an image of moving on with life through sporting events, reopenings, and even hosting a portion of the Republican National Convention.
After seeing a decline in cases in May, Florida is experiencing an uptick. On June 13, 2,625 people tested positive for the virus, the highest daily total thus far, according to tracker site Worldometers.info. The number of deaths associated with the virus also remains high, with the seven-day moving average about the same as it was in mid-May.
There's also a dispute between DeSantis' administration and a former member of the Florida Department of Health, who says the state's official virus tally is lower than it actually is.
As Politico noted, DeSantis — a Republican who is close to President Donald Trump — appears to be downplaying the severity of the virus in the Sunshine State and is trying to paint a rosier picture as the economy attempts to rebound from several weeks of closures and job losses.
"You're talking about a massive economic impact. I think you're gonna have folks that are going to be able to spend a lot of money," DeSantis said regarding the RNC in Jacksonville. "I think it'll help with the economic recovery. ... Look, we're not out of the woods with the jobs by any stretch."
On Sunday, NASCAR held its first race with fans in months at Homestead-Miami Speedway. DeSantis was there to wave the green flag.
Florida International University pandemic expert Dr. Aileen Marty told Politico that DeSantis is "shooting himself in the foot."
The governor, Marty said, is "so eager to open up the economy because we're in a recession now. It is a horrible situation. But he thinks in downplaying the threat of the virus that's going to help the economy. It's going to backfire because if people fail to understand how dangerous this particular virus is, they're going to act in irresponsible ways."
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