DeSantis hosts COVID-19 roundtable discussion discrediting lockdowns, masks and contact tracing

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis held a roundtable with medical experts to back up the things he has been saying all along when it comes to COVID-19.

That includes ideas like that lockdowns don’t work and that schools need to be open.

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The panel included Dr. Scott Atlas, the Stanford radiologist whose skepticism on the value of masks and optimistic forecasts on the pandemic won him a job as a coronavirus adviser to President Donald Trump.

But Atlas was criticized by scientists for saying lockdowns don’t work and schools should stay open.

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During the roundtable, DeSantis questioned the scientists himself, knowing they would agree with the steps he had taken during the pandemic.

The panelists took several controversial positions during the discussion including that masks were not that important in the fight against the virus and that contact tracing was a waste of time and counterproductive.

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The panelists’ views on face masks directly contradicted advice given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Florida Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried, who has been critical of the governor, tweeted following the discussion that DeSantis needed to “stop elevating disinformation and follow science” and that “masks save lives.”

Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.