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Joe Nocera

Florida and DeSantis Defy Covid-19 and the Critics

The governor kept the state open, attracting economic activity and emboldening his political ambitions. 

Adept or merely lucky?

Adept or merely lucky?

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

And the pandemic winner is … Florida and its governor, Ron DeSantis.

Can anyone doubt it? As the country tries to recover from the pandemic, psychologically as well as economically, Florida is way ahead of just about every other state in the U.S. As of March, its unemployment rate was 4.7%, compared with New York’s 8.5% and California’s 8.3%. The Census Bureau reports that more than 250,000 people moved to Florida last year, second only to Texas. From all indications, the influx has only accelerated in 2021.