STATEMENT: Florida Hits 1 Million COVID Cases

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Tallahassee, FL — This week Florida reached the deeply troubling milestone of over 1 million COVID cases here in our state. The Florida Democratic Party released the following statement in response: 

“Governor Ron DeSantis has spent the last 9 months refusing to treat COVID-19 as a pandemic and because of this attitude Florida is one of just three states to reach the milestone of over 1 million cases. We need to stop the spread of this virus. We need a statewide mask mandate. And we need Governor DeSantis to take COVID-19 seriously. Lives are on the line.” 

ICYMI: Secrecy and spin: How Florida’s governor misled the public on the COVID-19 pandemic 

FLORIDA — This week, the Sun Sentinel highlighted just how deceptive and misleading Governor DeSantis has been about the COVID-19 pandemic with Floridians. He has taken Donald Trump’s lead on handling the virus, uplifted doctors and spokespeople with questionable views and presented numbers that consistently do not show the whole picture. Additionally, DeSantis has refused to put a stop to super spreader activities like packed bars and has refused to institute a statewide mask mandate.   

Sun Sentinel: Secrecy and spin: How Florida’s governor misled the public on the COVID-19 pandemic

Mario Ariza, David Fleshler and Cindy Krischer Goodman | December 3, 2020 


  • Throughout the COVID-19 crisis in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration engaged in a pattern of spin and concealment that misled the public on the gravest health threat the state has ever faced, a South Florida Sun Sentinel investigation has found.
  • The [DeSantis] administration suppressed unfavorable facts, dispensed dangerous misinformation, dismissed public health professionals, and promoted the views of scientific dissenters who supported the governor’s approach to the disease.
  • The DeSantis administration’s approach to managing COVID-19 information carries costs. It supports a climate in which people proudly disdain masks, engage in dangerous group activities that could spread the disease, and brush aside information that conflicts with their political views.
  • The Florida Department of Health’s county-level spokespeople were ordered in September to stop issuing public statements about COVID-19 until after the Nov. 3 election.
  • State officials withheld information about infections in schools, prisons, hospitals and nursing homes, relenting only under pressure or legal action from family members, advocacy groups and journalists.
  • The DeSantis administration brushed aside scientists and doctors who advocated conventional approaches to fighting the virus, preferring scientists on the fringes who backed the governor’s positions.
  • The governor’s spokesman regularly takes to Twitter to spread misinformation about the disease, including the false claim that COVID was less deadly than the flu.
  • Many experts who have studied epidemics say Florida’s current official death toll of more than 19,000 is likely an undercount. Studies from the CDC suggest that Florida’s total death toll from the pandemic could have been as high as 23,000 in early October.
  • The governor highlighted statistics that would paint the rosiest picture possible and attempted to cast doubt on the validity of Florida’s rising death toll. And the DeSantis administration also has chosen a positivity rate calculation that yields more favorable results and is not widely used.

Please see the following letter from Terrie Rizzo, Chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party. The letter was sent to Party Leaders at 5:00 PM today.
For more information and background to many of the efforts outlined in the letter and launched by our team over the past three years please see the following:

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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.

That is why we champion the middle class and cherish the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why we will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Florida Democrats are leading every day to move our state forward.

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