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Criticisms from Left and Right Miss the Mark: Florida Had a Strong COVID Performance

President at Paragon Health Institute
Brian Blase, Ph.D., is the President of Paragon Health Institute. Brian was Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House’s National Economic Council (NEC) from 2017-2019, where he coordinated the development and execution of numerous health policies and advised the President, NEC director, and senior officials. After leaving the White House, Brian founded Blase Policy Strategies and serves as its CEO.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was criticized and pressured by federal officials, such as President Joe Biden and public health czar Anthony Fauci, to back draconian restrictions. Now, criticism is coming from the opposite direction: Former President Donald Trump claims DeSantis’s policies were too severe, and that “Florida was closed for a long period of time.” I coauthored a Paragon Health Institute study that shows both criticisms are wrong. Florida implemented sensible COVID policies and its COVID performance was among the very best in the nation.

The Paragon study utilized an index of states’ COVID responses, including actions such as school and business closures and mask mandates, developed by Oxford University. The study compared the stringency of state government responses with a set of health, economic, education, and migration outcomes.

The stringency of state COVID restrictions was not significantly correlated with health outcomes, as measured by age- and health-adjusted COVID mortality and all-cause excess mortality. For example, Florida had one of the nation’s least restrictive COVID responses, but its age-adjusted COVID mortality rate was 8% lower than the median state.

The full article can be found in Newsweek.

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