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Florida and other states that avoided heavy-handed COVID lockdowns are reaping the rewards of liberty. While New York and California remain in an economic malaise, with no discernible health benefits from strict business and gathering restrictions, the Dakotas, Florida, and even Texas, which has vacillated between stricter and lighter measures, have fared better.
Even pro-lockdown news outlets like CNN have paid a grudging nod to the real-world data that is substantiating the decisions of “free state” governors like Ron DeSantis and Kristi Noem.
“A year into the pandemic, Florida is booming and Republican Gov. DeSantis is taking credit,” CNN’s Jeff Zeleny recently reported.
“As many parts of the country embark on an uneasy march toward normalcy, Florida is not only back in business—it’s been in business for the better part of the past year. DeSantis’ gamble to take a laissez-faire approach appears to be paying off—at least politically, at least for now, as other governors capturing attention in the opening phase of the pandemic now face steeper challenges.”
CNN noted that Florida rated in the average of states regarding COVID statistics including cases and recorded 8 percent fewer deaths per capita than the U.S. as a whole.
What’s true for light lockdown states has also been true for nations. In Europe, for example, Sweden earned scorn in 2020 for mostly avoiding mandatory business closures, social distancing, and mask-wearing. But by the middle of summer, while the continent was in a severe retraction, Sweden was faring better, according to the BBC:
“Sweden, which avoided a lockdown during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, saw its economy shrink 8.6% in the April-to-June period from the previous three months. The flash estimate from the Swedish statistics office indicated that the country had fared better than other EU nations which took stricter measures. By contrast, Spain and France, two strict lockdown Euro nations, saw economic contractions of 18.5% and 13.8% respectively.”
Currently, Florida’s unemployment rate stands at just 4.8 percent compared to 8.8 percent in New York and 9 percent in California.
Color CNN surprised. “DeSantis suddenly appears to be in a position of strength compared to some of his fellow governors, including many of whom took far more restrictive approaches to the fight against coronavirus that caused a trickle-down effect on the economy,” said Zeleny.

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