A new debate arises in the United States when comparing the actions of California governor Gavin Newsom and Florida’s Ron DeSantis. A discussion that focuses on which governor acted correctly in the face of the spread of the coronavirus.
Although these are two opposing territories and completely different measures, what is certain is that the numbers favor Florida, which kept as a priority to grant freedom to its population, the opening of businesses and schools, and opposed lockdowns.
A report by the Los Angeles Times concludes that it does not make sense to compare the two states because their conditions -such as climate and population vulnerability- are different, and that could have influenced the number of contagions and deaths from coronavirus; however, different studies point out that the massive closures were not a good idea.
“California went from being a national model to a disaster,” said NPR reporter Eric Westervelt. He further added that “California’s per capita death numbers (…) are in many cases equal to or worse than many states that have been far less restrictive.”
It is not as simple to say that mass lockdowns work and save lives as it is to say that they don’t work and people would die anyway. What is feasible to demonstrate is that the closures would, without question, destroy local economies.
Gavin Newsom vs Ron DeSantis
Data from Johns Hopkins University reveal that California reported 3.6 million COVID-19 infections, while Florida reported 1.9 million. According to the study, California’s total number of COVID-19 cases as a percentage of the population is approximately 8.8%, while Florida’s is approximately 8.3%.
In Florida, most businesses are open, and have been for months. Unemployment is below the national average. Tourism, while still well below average, is already showing signs of recovery.
But the outlook in California under Governor Gavin Newsom is grim, with unemployment rising in December along with new cases of the virus. On top of that, many small business owners are frustrated and on the verge of bankruptcy.
From February through April, 3.3 million small businesses nationwide disappeared, according to an analysis by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. In California, 30% of small businesses remained closed in November and at least 19,000 closed permanently, according to a report by the state’s oversight agency, the Little Hoover Commission.
While Florida Governor Ron DeSantis applauds the results of his administration, California’s top official, Gavin Newsom, faces impeachment for his actions to address the pandemic.
Now DeSantis, who managed to get the unemployment rate to fall much more than in California, is emerging as a possible Republican candidate for the Presidency of the United States, and on the contrary, the Democrat Newson sees the road to win any election as an uphill struggle.