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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defends response to COVID-19 despite rising numbers

MIAMI – A fractured reply to the coronavirus pandemic by elected officials in Florida has many residents wondering who is actually in charge.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a long-winded news conference on Monday to defend his response to COVID-19.

“You have seen the increase in positivity, but there are a lot of parts of Florida that are still in the single digits,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis wears a mask more frequently to daily briefings, but has not wavered in his plan to let locals lead a patchwork of COVID-19 responses.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced re-closings over the weekend due to the spike in coronavirus cases,.

“He allows us down here in Miami-Dade to do things a little differently because the virus has actually been impactful here in Miami-Dade,” Gimenez said.

Broward County Mayor Dale Holness is considering the tone of the message

“I think we’re disjointed in terms of the messages coming from different parts of our government,” he said. “That’s sad; we ought to be fully coordinated.”

Critics look at the tone and the plans of DeSantis and compare them to New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo, who shut down his state.

DeSantis cites successes such as a single digit fatality rates, state resources sent to hot spots and protecting the elderly and most medically vulnerable.

“It’s not an even epidemic through the state,” he said. “There is a lot of diversity here. Obviously the solutions are going to be tailored differently based on the facts at hand.”

This weekend, state Rep. Shevrin Jones, who currently has COVID-19, asked the governor in a video diary about what he and Democratic colleagues wrote in a letter.

“Issue a mandatory mask order. Don’t allow the political games to weigh on your decision,” he said.