Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is more than a little bullish about the odds of a full 2020 high school football season.
During an appearance on the Outkick the Coverage podcast with Clay Travis, DeSantis continued his open posture toward sports in Florida with full-throated confidence that the 2020 high school football season would be played in its entirety this fall.
“This is so important for our kids, particularly those that are going to be seniors,” DeSantis said. “They need to be playing. I’m convinced it’ll be something that is safe to do. We should absolutely assume a full high school football season.
“We had kids in these spring sports who were deprived of some of their senior seasons. To be deprived of a season is a big problem. … I think there will be a lot of momentum to make sure that we have our kids being able to play this fall.”
Restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic — which surpassed 100,000 deaths in the United States earlier this week — have gradually relaxed in Florida throughout May.
More: High school football coaches challenged with lack of spring practice
In sports, youth programs were recently cleared for re-opening, and DeSantis has been open about attracting professional and collegiate sports events to the state moving forward.
While some Florida school districts have announced dates in June for a return to summer practice and workouts with high school sports, programs in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties remain on an indefinite pause.
More: High school sports’ road back has many steps, says national federation
Travis clarified with DeSantis that a full high-school football season is contingent on students returning to high schools, a development of which the governor also expressed confidence.
Citing international research, DeSantis said that not only were children younger than 18 far less likely to suffer consequences — noting zero reported COVID-19 deaths in Florida from that age demographic — but that the “influenza model,” which emphasized the danger of concentrated children as carriers to older individuals, may not be applicable for coronavirus.
“I think that thought led to a lot of the school closures, but you look at a lot of the research from Europe and Australia, they’re not finding kids as significant components in spreading this thing,” DeSantis said.
“The influenza model, which I understand why it was embraced at the time, doesn’t seem to be applicable to coronavirus.”
Conflicting research has created some uncertainty regarding the threat facing children, both in terms of personal health and as asymptomatic carriers.
While morbidity and infection rates show children are less likely to suffer severe illness or death from coronavirus, certain studies, including a May report from Rutgers, have raised concerns about children facing health complications from coronavirus, particularly in those with multiple chronic conditions.
Eric J. Wallace can be reached at [email protected] or 850-525-5087.