Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, has faced a ton of scrutiny throughout the coronavirus pandemic, especially over the past few months as his state has seen itself become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. In an exclusive interview with CBS Miami, Gov. DeSantis owned up to one mistake, admitting that the state's unemployment system isn't exactly as smooth as it should have been.
Early on in the pandemic, many Floridians voiced their frustrations with the system as more and more people lost their jobs. With each new case, the system became increasingly more difficult to use. DeSantis, who had to dial back the state's reopening phase amid a spike in cases, noted that they were "in dire straits with that system" from the end of March through April. This came as a surprise to him because he said that unlike other states who were using models from 40 or 50 years ago, Florida's program has been reworked a little more than five years ago, admitting "it should have done better for that price tag to produce better results." Furthermore, DeSantis, when asked if the system was put together to discourage people from even signing up, agreed that when it was made, the creator wanted to point "pointless roadblocks" there so that people would say "the hell with it, I’m not going to do that." Florida’s unemployment process was put together under the previous governor, Rick Scott.
#EXCLUSIVE: @GovRonDeSantis sat down with #CBS4’s @DeFede for his first one-on-one interview since the start of the pandemic. One of topics they discussed was the state's unemployment system, which DeSantis acknowledged was designed to frustrate people. https://t.co/WkWbY0WE7A pic.twitter.com/rWDPPAa9Hn— CBS4 Miami (@CBSMiami) August 4, 2020
DeSantis went on to say some of those roadblocks have been taken care of and the system is running more efficiently. Moving forward, the governor hopes to have more "user-friendly" systems in place, rather than one that attempts to have “the least number of claims being paid out.”
It’ll be imperative that the system runs more smoothly moving forward considering the state remains a hotbed for COVID-19. Florida's number of new daily cases has seen a downward trend over the past few days, though it could be a result of less testing being done in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias, which missed out on ravaging the state and instead shredded the east coast after striking North Carolina. On Tuesday, Florida did report another 245 deaths related to the coronavirus, marking the third-highest number the state has seen since the pandemic began. In total, Florida has 7,402 lives lost and 497,330 cases.