DeSantis, Florida surgeon general tout ‘rejecting COVID-19 orthodoxy’

FILE - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis answers questions from the media in the Florida Cabinet following his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives Tuesday, March 7, 2023, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. Advocates for open government are ringing alarms about plans by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration that could make it harder to learn what public officials are doing and to speak out against them. (AP Photo/Phil Sears, File) (Phil Sears, Copyright 2023 the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke Thursday at a restaurant in Winter Haven about the state’s response to coronavirus, three years after the start of the pandemic.

He touted his administration’s efforts to “buck the COVID-19 orthodoxy.”

“Federal vaccine mandates and restrictions were never about protecting Americans from a virus, they were exercising control at the expense of the American economy and the American way of life,” said DeSantis, who has been a vocal opponent of mask and vaccine mandates. “In Florida, we did not abdicate our leadership decisions to DC bureaucrats. Instead, we bucked the bureaucrats by ensuring kids could be in school, Floridians could go to work and businesses could thrive.”

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo joined DeSantis to defend their approach regarding mandates and opening schools.

Florida was the first state in the nation to mandate in-person learning for students and welcome students back into the classroom, according to a release from the governor’s office, which claimed sending students back to in-person learning helped Florida avoid learning losses “that we are just beginning to comprehend nationwide.”

News4JAX streamed the news conference live. The event is now over.