[Ed. – WSJ suggests “a bit of both” – then goes on to describe a whole lot of what the people and the local governments of Florida decided to do on their own, independent of state-imposed measures that came after the peak infection time. The lesson would be to trust the people, armed with accurate information, and not assume they’re all 20-year-old idiots on spring break.]
Some scientists point to Florida’s low population density, while others to its subtropical climate to explain fewer infections.
A key factor, many say, is a change in the behavior of Floridians. Though the governor didn’t impose a statewide stay-at-home order until April 3, people began hunkering down en masse in mid-March, according to firms that analyze anonymous cellphone data.
That was around the same time deaths in the U.S. topped 100 and residents of New York, many of whom have ties to Florida, started staying home. The pandemic’s progression in Florida was about a week behind its trajectory in New York, so that social-distancing measures effectively kicked in earlier, said Thomas Hladish, research scientist at the University of Florida Emerging Pathogens Institute. …
Florida had 6 deaths per 100,000 people as of Saturday, compared with 42 in Louisiana, 56 in Massachusetts and 97 in New York, according to states’ data.