As COVID-19 Cases Surge, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Says He Won't Reinstate Restrictions

The Republican governor said "social interactions" among younger Floridians -- and not the state's reopening -- was driving the spike in coronavirus cases.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) insisted Tuesday that he would not reintroduce COVID-19 restrictions despite a resurgence of coronavirus cases following a reopening of the state’s economy.

“We’re not going back, closing things,” the governor told reporters, adding that he didn’t believe the state’s economic reopening was the cause of the virus spread but rather that it was social interactions among younger Floridians.

“I mean, people going to business is not what’s driving it,” he said. “I think when you see the younger folks, I think a lot of it is just more social interactions, and so that’s natural.”

The New York Times reported Sunday that Florida’s COVID-19 cases had increased fivefold in just two weeks. The state reported 9,585 new cases on Friday ― a record-breaking daily tally. In all, more than 150,000 virus cases have been reported in the state.

Amid the spike, Florida officials on Friday barred the sale of alcohol in bars ― and both Miami-Dade and Broward counties shuttered their beaches for the Fourth of July weekend.

DeSantis said, however, that the state would otherwise be going ahead with its reopening plans.

“We’re open. We know who we need to protect. Most of the folks in those younger demographics ― although we want them to be mindful of what’s going on ― are just simply much, much less at risk than the folks who are in those older age groups. So, protecting the vulnerable, you know, really is significant,” he said.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said Tuesday that the U.S. could see as many as 100,000 new coronavirus infections daily if states like Florida, Texas and Arizona ― where surges of new infections have recently been reported ― don’t take steps to stem the spread.

At least 17 states, including Texas, have put the brakes on their reopening plans as virus cases have spiked.

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