Gov. DeSantis says no change on masks, even for RNC: ‘We’ll be fine by that time’

Gov. Ron DeSantis' chart shows a spike in the percentage of positive COVID-19 test results. He said that's because more people in the 33-36 age group, considered relatively low-risk for severe symptoms, are getting tested than in prior months. Credit: Governor's Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Sunday attempted to allay public fears about surging numbers of COVID-19 cases without resorting to a statewide face-mask mandate or slowing the reopening of the state economy.

He even said during a press conference in Pensacola said he’s not worried about plans to host Republican National Convention festivities in Jacksonville on Aug. 24-27.

“I think we’ll be fine by that time,” DeSantis said in answer to a reporter’s question about requiring face masks at the event.

The press conference was held at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital. DeSantis’ key messages, mostly reinforced by Sacred Heart executives, were to continue voluntary use of face masks, safe distancing, and hand washing — especially at large gatherings.

The hospital executives’ key message was that the hospital is safe and that people should not put off medical care out of fear of being infected there.

DeSantis said the daily surges in new COVID cases — which exceeded 9,000 from Friday to Saturday and exceeded 8,000 from Saturday to Sunday — is mostly among people aged 33 to 36, an age group he said suffers less severe symptoms than most others.

However, he warned that people in that age group pose a high risk of contracting the virus, showing few or no symptoms, and then infecting people in their households. He said the risk is highest for people living in multigenerational households, because people older than 65 are the most vulnerable, along with people of other ages who have underlying medical problems.