U.S. Rep. Shalala, Florida Leaders Demand Trump, DeSantis Rapidly Scale Up COVID-19 Testing to Safely Relax Social Distancing

4 mins read

Trump’s continued failure to implement national testing, a foundational step to reopening the country, is prolonging this crisis 


FLORIDA –  Today on a video press conference, U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, State Senator Lori Berman, Vice Chair of the Committee on Health Policy, Dr. Brent Schillinger, past President of Palm Beach County Medical Society, and Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo demanded President Trump and Governor DeSantis immediately take action to implement mass COVID-19 testing, a step health experts say is necessary to safely relax social distancing measures. 


Tomorrow marks one month since the Trump Administration claimed they would have 27 million tests by the end of March, but have so far completed less than 4 million. According to Harvard researchers, Florida needs to more than triple the number of tests conducted to safely relax social distancing. 


For a recording of the virtual press conference, click here.

From the call:


Donna ShalalaU.S. Representative for Florida’s 27th Congressional District and former Secretary of Health and Human Services

“We have to pay attention to the health experts. They’re telling us that 1) we have to have a very strong testing regime, 2) we have to have some therapeutics. We cannot get our economy going again unless we have the testing regime in place and unless we have some therapeutics so that we can save peoples’ lives.”

[…] “We must demand leadership from our leaders in Tallahassee and in Washington because this is about life and death.” 

Lori Berman, State Senator for District 31 and Vice Chair of the Committee on Health Policy 

“Absent widespread accessible and accurate diagnostic and antibody testing in Florida, reopening our state and relaxing social distancing will jeopardize the health and safety of our residents, which is our paramount concern. Every decision the Governor takes needs to be predicated on the advice of our nation’s leading health experts.”

[…] “If Florida fails to rise above the dangerous passions of this president’s politics and doesn’t adhere strictly to those educated, we risk a second, more deadly wave right here in our state.”

Dr. Brent Schillinger, former president of the Palm Beach County Medical Society

“If we were to loosen the social distancing restrictions without first implementing extensive testing and identifying these silent but contagious carriers, we would be putting a lot of Floridians at risk and we would be adding a great deal more uncertainty to the already massive task of fighting this epidemic.” 

Terrie Rizzo, Florida Democratic Party Chair

“Trump has not taken the steps necessary to safely reopen the economy and still does not have a strategy to implement mass COVID-19 testing. Public health experts have been crystal clear: we need mass national testing before we can relax social distancing. Trump’s own CDC and FEMA have produced documents that warn of a risk of ‘resurgence of the virus’ if there’s not enough testing.” 

Read more 
Sarasota Herald Tribune: Democrats want lockdown maintained until testing improves  
Florida Politics: As Governor readies task force to reopen state, Florida Democrats say health experts should lead 
WFSU: Doctor Warns To Not Open State As COVID-19 Peak Date Remains Uncertain  


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Florida Democrats believe in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, we believe that we are stronger together. We believe the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you — should shine brightest in Florida.

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