The global pandemic lock-down is starting to look like one of the worst public health decisions in history. A year ago everyone was scared and no one knew what would happen -- but time has now revealed which leaders made good choices and which didn't. It's not random.

Even some Florida Democrats are wondering whether Gov. Ron DeSantis' widely panned COVID response might turn out to be right, Axios Tampa Bay's Ben Montgomery and Selene San Felice write.

More than 32,000 Floridians have died, a number the state's leaders rarely acknowledge. But the death rate is no worse than the national average -- and better than some states with tighter restrictions.

The L.A. Times compared Florida and California:

"California imposed myriad restrictions that battered the economy ... Florida adopted a more laissez-faire approach decried by public health experts -- allowing indoor restaurant dining, leaving masks optional."

On Sunday's front page, the N.Y. Times explored the positives -- from the sizzling real-estate market to Florida's low unemployment rate -- of an early reopening: "Much of the state has a boomtown feel."

Florida's unemployment rate is 5.1%, compared to 9.3% in California, 8.7% in New York and 6.9% in Texas, The Times notes.

The bottom line: "Despite their differing approaches," AP reports, "California and Florida have experienced almost identical outcomes in COVID-19 case rates."

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