Gov. Ron DeSantis sought to alleviate fears of the coronavirus Thursday in his continued push to reopen the state's economy and alleviate fears of in-person learning at schools.
The governor was joined by three health officials:
- Stanford University Professor of Medicine Dr. Jayanta Bhattacharya
- Harvard University Medical School Professor of Medicine Dr. Martin Kulldorff
- Stanford University Professor of Structural Biology Michael Levitt
Bhattacharya said he believes the mortality rate of the coronavirus is actually lower than the experts have estimated.
He said he believes as many as 70 million people may have contracted the coronavirus in the United States, many who don't even know they have had it.
Current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control estimate around 7 million confirmed cases in the U.S.
Bhattacharya, Kulldorff and Levin said they believe lockdowns are no longer an effective way to control the virus and only detrimental to society as a whole.
The doctors on the panel took the point of view that widescale closures should no longer take place and isolation of the vulnerable is a more effective way to combat the virus.
Kulldorff said he did not believe that schools were a large vector for transmissions for the virus, but children with symptoms should be sent home.
"We should let younger people live their lives," said Kulldorff said. "COVID is never going to go away."
Bhattacharya said he does not advocate for mask mandates.
As of Thursday, there have been 693,040 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Florida.