PORT ST. LUCIE (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is not backing down on his policies in the face of rising COVID-19 cases, especially when there is talk of another possible shutdown.
"One of the things that really irks me about people that want to shut down is you can't show me where that's actually worked," said Gov. DeSantis at an event in Port Saint Lucie on Friday. "Number two, it hurts people. It hurts their livelihoods. It hurts their ability to put food on the table for their family and hurts family on businesses. Obviously, when you start talking about schools, we lead on that last year. That's a huge problem if you're not letting kids go to school."
The governor also mentioned that in Florida about 5 million people have recovered from coronavirus, but it's not known where that statistic comes from because the Florida Department of Health does not provide recovery data and according to CDC statistics, half that amount of people, or 2.6 million people in Florida, have tested positive for the coronavirus since January 2020.
Meantime, the feud between the White House and Gov. DeSantis got ugly again on Thursday when Press Secretary Jen Psaki accused him of putting Floridians at risk by going against public health recommendations.
DeSantis says by banning mask mandates at schools, he's protecting the rights of parents to make decisions for their families.
"So, we're here to state the facts," said Psaki. "25% of hospitalizations in the country are in Florida. It is also a fact that the governor has taken steps that are counter … counter to public health recommendations."
Florida has repeatedly broken records for hospitalized patients this week, and it and Texas accounted for a third of all new cases nationwide last week, according to the White House.
It's led Gov. DeSantis and President Biden to butt heads all week.
"Joe Biden suggests if you don't do locked down policies then you should 'get out of the way.' But let me tell you this, if you are coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I'm standing in your way. I'm not gonna let you get away with it," said DeSantis.
He went even further calling Biden a "power hungry tyrant" in a fundraising email. It also read, "Florida is a free state, and we will empower our people. "We will not allow Joe Biden and his bureaucratic flunkies to come in and commandeer the rights and freedoms of Floridians."
Press Secretary Psaki fired back.
"Frankly, our view is that this is too serious, deadly serious to be doing partisan name calling. That's what we're not doing here."
When asked Thursday about DeSantis' response to his comments, Biden simply asked, "Governor who?" and grinned.
Psaki added that administration officials remained in touch with Florida's public health officials, despite DeSantis' posture. Psaki also said the White House was focused on ensuring Floridians know what steps they should be taking to safeguard their health, "even if those are not steps taken at the top of the leadership in that state."
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