Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has been widely criticized for his delay in issuing a stay-at-home order for his state, letting spring breakers congregate on the beach and gatherings to continue for weeks after states like California and New York had completely shut down.
Now that DeSantis has finally relented and ordered citizens remain in their homes for safety, he's decided to undercut the effectiveness of his methods by deeming religious gatherings as "essential services," which will allow people to continue gathering in large numbers to worship.
DeSantis claims he's been taking his lead on the pandemic response from President Donald Trump and the White House, who famously downplayed the threat of the virus for many weeks before finally accepting the danger our nation is facing.
Due to a lack of available testing and previously casual attitude towards the virus, the number of cases in Florida likely exceeds the 7,000 confirmed on paper.
Any large gatherings make the likelihood of spread exponentially higher, as scientists have warned and experience has already shown.
In France, a megachurch that was allowed to remain open became a hotspot in the spread of disease.
France's health minister, Olivier Véran, told the French paper Journal du Dimanche:
"The tipping point was the evangelical gathering in Mulhouse. The epidemic spread across the country from the gathering."
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has become nationally recognized for his frank and honest assessments of the pandemic, urged states to be very careful about allowing such large gatherings, saying:
"I can't make any official proclamations here, but I can say: Really seriously consider, are those exemptions appropriate when you think about what's going on? And I urge the people of the leadership at the state level to really take a close look at those kinds of decisions."
Hopefully DeSantis begins taking this crisis seriously before he's forced to. By the time people begin feeling the effects of his negligence, it will be too late.