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Social distancing matters. Here is how to do it and how it can help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. USA TODAY

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2020欧洲杯正规平台TALLAHASSEE – As he often does at daily coronavirus briefings, Gov. Ron DeSantis ticked off a list of supplies being deployed across Florida.

One million N-95 masks; 100,000 face shields; 500,000 gloves; 35,000 hospital gowns; even 60,000 containers of hand sanitizer.

But in the opening 90 seconds of his Tuesday briefing, another number also emerged. DeSantis mentioned President Trump’s White House four times – all favorably.

2020欧洲杯正规平台Florida’s governor, whose victory in 2018 was largely powered by Trump tweets and campaign cash from the president’s allies, has emerged as one of the beleaguered White House’s biggest promoters throughout the COVID-19 crisis.


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Now, with Trump ready to launch a phased-in re-opening of the nation’s economy, there is little doubt DeSantis is ready to embrace that message. According to DeSantis, the pair talk almost daily.

But the decision to soften the statewide “safer-at-home’ order DeSantis issued April 1 could prove the most consequential of his political career.

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2020欧洲杯正规平台The governor said that a task force that he’s appointing to advise him on reopening should return with recommendations within five days. But that’s alarming to some experts.

2020欧洲杯正规平台“We’re talking about tradeoffs between public health and everything that flows from economics and social activity,” said Dr. David Ozonoff, a Boston University epidemiologist, who went to medical school with Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading White House advisor on the coronavirus.

“Leaders act on values and priorities. And while I side on science and public health side, I’m not sure the White House follows the science or the facts, and the governor is following the White House, so you can draw your own conclusions,” he added.

2020欧洲杯正规平台DeSantis and Trump in the past few days seem especially close, with the governor bemoaning the lack of televised sports in that Tuesday briefing where he also defended his decision to declare WWE an essential business to allow televised wrestling to continue – with no ringside audience – from its Orlando performance center.

America First Action, the super PAC chaired by former WWE chair Linda McMahon, has pledged to spend $18.5 million for Trump’s re-election in Florida. DeSantis dismissed the connection as having no bearing on his decision.

The symmetry between the president and the governor, though, has coursed through the fight against the coronavirus. Earlier this month, DeSantis began promoting the state’s acquisition of hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malaria drug Trump has touted despite cautions about its use from public health officials.

DeSantis also started talking up how to reopen the state’s economy – not long after the president unveiled his own plan for a task force of business leaders to advise him on the same goal.

2020欧洲杯正规平台“I’m going to surround myself with the greatest minds,” Trump said, before the task force evolved into what now looks like a series of phone calls between the president and dozens of corporate leaders.

DeSantis said his own task force will include state elected officials along with business and education leaders working toward what he called the “resurgence and reopening of Florida.” The governor said he wants “advice and ideas on pretty much everything under the sun.”

2020欧洲杯正规平台“Small business, agriculture, restaurants, tourism, large events and conventions, recreation, international travel, K through 12 as well as higher education. There are a whole host of things we need to be thinking about,” DeSantis said.

2020欧洲杯正规平台DeSantis also wants COVID-19 testing to be ramped up and available to Florida employers, preferably with 24-hour turnaround times. Such testing currently is deployed chiefly for some health care workers and first responders.

But while DeSantis seems to have followed Trump’s lead at virtually every step, the governor insisted the White House will not direct when Florida reawakens.

2020欧洲杯正规平台“Part of this is just going to be based off how to people feel about the situation,” he said. “Do they think that we’ve gone in a good direction? That this is something that the risk is minimal enough?”

“It’s not just going to be about what government does,” he added.

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But with May 1 bearing down, DeSantis said he wants his task force advisers to act quickly. “Time is of the essence,” he said.

More: Coronavirus in Florida: Gov. DeSantis announces 1 million N95 masks for health care workers

Governors in two regions have announced coalitions in which states will coordinate their economic re-openings: California, Oregon and Washington; and New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

2020欧洲杯正规平台These states, though, were all ahead of Florida in issuing stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Their governors, mostly Democrats, have expressed more caution about reopening.

Indeed, a recent analysis by economists at Stanford, Harvard and New York University concluded that there was a stark divide between how Republicans and Democrats saw the need for social distancing and other restrictions stemming from the coronavirus.

2020欧洲杯正规平台They found “significant gaps between Republicans and Democrats in beliefs about personal risk and the future path of the pandemic.”

2020欧洲杯正规平台Like the White House, DeSantis downplayed for weeks the need for widespread action.

The Florida governor issued his state shutdown order only after the president abandoned his “aspirational goal” of relaxing coronavirus guidelines by Easter, instead extending restrictions through April.

And despite his target of a May 1 reopening, Trump told governors on Thursday, “You’re going to call your shots.”

DeSantis has already taken a few shots for his management of the coronavirus. The state’s paralyzed economy has forced more than 660,000 Floridians to file unemployment claims in the past month – and thousands more have unsuccessfully attempted to file using the state Department of Economic Opportunity’s dysfunctional online site.

2020欧洲杯正规平台DeSantis has been blistered on social media by out-of-work Floridians.

While polls show most governors, Democrats and Republicans, have seen big increases in their approval ratings during the pandemic, DeSantis has moved in the opposite direction.

The polling firm Morning Consult has California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s favorability up 40%; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also a Democrat, with a 30-plus-percent improvement, and Republican Mike DeWine of Ohio up by 30%.

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DeSantis, who had a strong, 58% approval rating before the coronavirus is down by 7% percent since the coronavirus took hold.

There’s also a divide among Florida political leaders.

“I think the governor and his office have done a good job whenever I’ve tried to reach out for information or to help people file unemployment claims,” said Rep. Clay Yarborough, a Jacksonville Republican. “It’s on the state to fix that unemployment system. And he’s been taking steps to improve it.

“All this is a balancing act,” Yarborough added. “It’s the economy on one side and health care on the other. And he’s dealing with a lot of unknowns about each.”

2020欧洲杯正规平台Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, a former Florida Republican Party chair, said DeSantis helped secure enhanced testing in his city and has been “extremely responsive and helpful to our citizens.”

2020欧洲杯正规平台Democrats, though, in the Legislature and the state’s congressional delegation complain about a lack of access to the governor’s office. They say they’ve also heard grumbling from Republican colleagues.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has been critical of DeSantis, saying the state Cabinet should be brought into the response.

“Successfully managing the impacts of COVID-19 requires the full weight of Florida’s state government, which takes cooperation and coordination,” Fried said.

Some also are worried about the White House’s push for reopening driving the governor’s decision-making.

“People are scared to death,” said Sen. Lori Berman, R-Boynton Beach. “Reopening the state is a huge risk, especially since we’re still so far behind in testing.”

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