DeSantis describes Florida as ‘God’s waiting room’ at COVID-19 briefing

Governor was addressing number of nursing homes in the state and coronavirus pandemic

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis holds a COVID-19 press conference at an Orlando hospital. (News4Jax)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Gov. Ron DeSantis used ground zero, nursing homes and God’s waiting room all in one sentence at his press briefing on coronavirus Sunday, raising the eyebrows and the ire of a few.

“Florida is ground zero for the nursing home, we’re God’s waiting room,” DeSantis said Sunday. “We have a huge number of facilities, a huge number of residents.” The term is a decades-old joke about the amount of retirees that move to Florida; it isn’t complimentary.

The Florida governor made the remarks within the first 10 minutes into the briefing while saying that the state had acted quickly to protect the elderly. He said he realized early on from paying attention to statistics from South Korea “that not all age groups were equally at risk for coronavirus". . . . that the fatalities were occurring in “folks 65 and up.”

Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo was quick to react to the Republican governor’s gaffe, sending out a statement:

“Governor, this isn’t a time to do stand-up, it’s a time to stand up and lead.”

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is a multi-platform producer/reporter for Local10 and is the podcast producer/reporter/host of the station's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and producer of's DigiShorts.