We’ll ‘never do any of these lockdowns again,’ says governor

A giant clothespin representing the U.S. economy chokes Uncle Sam during a Reopen America rally in Stuart, Florida, on Friday, April 24, 2020. (Photo by Joe Kovacs)

After appearing with new White House pandemic adviser Dr. Scott Atlas, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis said his decision not to shut down the state two months ago amid a coronavirus spike has been vindicated amid a continued decline in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

“People said you have to shut down Florida, it will be exponential, it will run away, it will never go down unless you shut down,” he recalled at a news conference in The Villages retirement community on Monday.

DeSantis said he looked at the “life cyle” of the virus in different parts of the United States and around the world. He decided to focus on the vulnerable, advise others to take basic precautions and make sure hospitals have what they need, knowing that if that were done, “we’d be able to get through it and minimize the harm to society.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Video screenshot)

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He noted that the theme parks in Florida, Universal and Disney, have reopened, whereas in California they’re still shut down and have no “pathway” to reopening.

In his state, he said, the last “piece of the puzzle” is reopening pubs and bars in Central Florida and moving the three counties in the state’s south to the next phase.

The state regained 74,000 jobs in July, he said, contending that if the state had been shut down, it would have lost 300,000 to 400,000 jobs.

“So I think that we understand what we need to do. But we will never do any of these lockdowns again,” DeSantis said. “And I hear people say they’ll shut down the country, and honestly I cringe.”

Did Florida’s governor make the right decision in not locking down the state?

The reference apparently was to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s vow that if scientists on his staff advised him to lock down the entire nation, he would do it.

Before his visit to The Villages, DeSantis held a panel discussion in Tallahassee with Atlas.

Dr. Scott Atlas (Video screenshot)

Atlas pointed out that infections and deaths are declining in the Sun Belt states.

“The American public should feel cautiously optimistic here about what’s going on,” Atlas said. “There is no need for fear at this point.”

Emphasizing that COVID-19 poses little risk to young people, he said college football should go on, and schools should be open to in-person classes.

“This shouldn’t really be a point of controversy. College football should be open. It can be done safely,” Atlas said. “College sports is a big part of America and it’s a big part of the economic engine.”

Atlas said the U.S. is “the only nation among our peer nations that are hysterical about opening schools … the only country that seems to be willing to sacrifice our children out of our own fear.”

The CDC’s Provisional Death Counts for Coronavirus Disease 2019 chart shows the drop in deaths for all ages after a peak April 18

He said testing people for coronavirus who do not have symptoms is counter-productive.

“When you start a program of testing simply to detect positive cases among asymptomatic low-risk groups, the outcome from that is to close the schools,” Atlas said. “And the goal of testing is not to close things. The goal of testing is to protect the vulnerable while we open the schools and open the economy.”

See remarks by Atlas:

The left-leaning World Council of Churches also made a case for sending children back to the classroom, arguing the damage done by quarantines far outweighs any health risks from the coronavirus itself, Breitbart News reported.

“For children, the COVID-19 pandemic is more about the impact of containment measures than a health issue, as such,” the WCC states on its website. “Confinement may put children at risk for domestic violence and affect their rights to education, care and protection.”

The WCC cited Cornelius Williams, associate director and global chief of child protection for UNICEF’s program division, who called the lockdowns a “crisis within a crisis, where containment measures pose a serious threat to basic rights, such as education, care, protection, decent living standards and even the right to play with other kids.”

A girl holds a “Prevent Economic Collapse” sign during a Reopen America rally on Friday, April 24, 2020 in Stuart, Florida. (Photo by Joe Kovacs)

CNN published an article Friday titled “‘Reassuring’ study finds children have small risk of death and severe illness from coronavirus.”

It cited recent studies showing severe illness and death remain rare in children with COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control indicates on its website that just 0.2% of the recorded deaths were people less than 25 years old.

See the full news conference:

Meanwhile, Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Raimondo declared her emergency powers, reducing gatherings to no more than 15 and requiring masks and social distancing, will continue until there is a vaccine.

“We don’t want an overwhelmed hospital system, which is happening in many states, but not here,” he said.

However, there are no states in which hospitals are at capacity.

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