Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that Florida will not revise its pandemic policies in response to the new omicron variant of COVID-19.
The governor stressed in his remarks that Floridians should have the freedom to make their own choices on what is best for their health.
“I have no problem if somebody is worried, if they’re scared of omicron, and they want to lock down or they want to isolate. That is absolutely their decision in a free society, but you don’t impose ‘Fauci-ism’ on the whole country or on the whole state. It’s wrong,” DeSantis said, according to WKMG-TV.
“Fauci-ism” is a term critics of Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, coined to describe pandemic policies they believe are excessive and infringing upon people’s liberty.
DeSantis made his comments during a speech at a park in Oldsmar, west of Tampa, Florida, where he was discussing a three-year plan to help the state deal with flooding through initiatives which include $270 million in investment for 76 projects statewide, according to Fox News.
The governor also criticized his counterparts from other states who enacted lockdowns and large-scale measures to stop the pandemic.
“It’s a free country, so when people are in bad environments — when you have states that don’t know how to fight crime, when you have states that are locking people down, mandating them, doing a lot of stupid things — people look for greener pastures,” DeSantis said, Fox News reported. “This is something that you have to deal with.”
The Florida Department of Health said Tuesday evening in a tweet that it recorded the first case of omicron in the state.
Earlier today, a statement was released regarding the presumed case of Omicron detected by the Florida Department of Health. This case has now been confirmed by @CDCgov. The Department has released an updated statement below as of 6pm. pic.twitter.com/Zmkx2fszMG
— Florida Dept. of Health (@HealthyFla) December 7, 2021
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also confirmed the case, the state health department said.
Variant B.1.1.529, named “omicron” was first discovered in South Africa and drove some of the rise in positive cases in the country, according to the United Nations.
On Nov. 26, the World Health Organization categorized omicron as a variant of concern.
“The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown,” the CDC’s brief on Omicron (which was last updated Tuesday) stated.
“”CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.”
According to the CDC, current vaccines approved by the U.S. government will expectedly protect the inoculated against “severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection” resulting from the new variant.
“Breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur,” the CDC brief added.
“Thus far, it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to [omicron],” Fauci said Sunday, according to WKMG.
“But we have really got to be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or it really doesn’t cause any severe illness, comparable to delta.”
According to health officials, omicron cases are expected to appear in Central Florida as well, WKMG reported.
“We knew it was here. We’re one of the highest traveled states in the country,” Seminole County emergency manager Alan Harris told the outlet. “We believe that is a higher transmission level. We do not know the mortality of this.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.