‘HUGE MISTAKE’: Florida Gov. DeSantis blasts Covid-19 lockdowns, including the one he ordered last year

Florida's Ron DeSantis can boast being one of the most pro-freedom US governors in terms of Covid-19 rules, but he now regrets even going as far as ordering a 30-day lockdown last year, calling it a “huge mistake.”

“We wanted to mitigate the damage,” DeSantis said on Friday, in an exclusive interview with the Epoch Times. 

Now in hindsight, the 15 days to slow the spread and the 30 – it didn't work. We shouldn't have gone down that road.

While the Florida lockdown, which was imposed in April 2020, was less restrictive than those in many states, DeSantis regrets issuing the order. Lockdowns across the US have destroyed lives and devastated economies, and DeSantis and other Republican governors have argued that states that continue to impose such orders are harming their residents without curtailing the spread of Covid-19.

Florida's phased reopening was completed last September. That same month, DeSantis banned local governments from enforcing mask mandates. Earlier this month, he issued an executive order banning businesses and government entities from requiring so-called vaccine passports to access goods, services or activities.

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Such decisions have made DeSantis a target of mainstream media attacks – and helped make him a top early contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination. Pollster Tony Fabrizio found in March that DeSantis has 17% support among Republican primary voters if former President Donald Trump isn't in the race. Only former Vice President Mike Pence polled higher, at 19%.

Despite having the second-highest percentage of elderly population in the US, Florida's ranks behind 27 other states in Covid-19 death rate, currently 159 per 100,000. The four states with the highest death rates – New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island – are all run by Democrats and have imposed relatively tight Covid-19 restrictions on their residents.

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DeSantis also spoke out on Friday against recommendations by Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's top medical adviser, to continue social-distancing precautions after someone has been fully vaccinated. 

“My view is, if you get a vaccine, the vaccines are effective,” DeSantis said. “You're immune and so, act immune.”

If you tell people the opposite, then gee, you know why, if it's not effective for them and it's not going to change anything then what's the point of going through it?

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