By John Haughey
The Center Square
July 29, 2021

Florida Secretary of Agriculture Nikki Fried

There were 16,038 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Florida Tuesday, 20% of all new cases reported nationwide.

The tally was the Sunshine State’s highest single-day new case count since Jan. 7 and the seventh-consecutive day it recorded more than 12,000 new daily cases.

But you couldn’t find that data Wednesday or Thursday on the Florida Department of Health’s (DOH) COVID-19 data dashboard.

In fact, information about the surging pandemic’s wildfire sprint across Florida between July 23-29 won’t be available until Friday when the DOH posts its weekly update.

Since June, under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ directive, the DOH has only been posting weekly updates every Friday.

The only way to chart the revived pandemic’s day-to-day surge in Florida is via the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)’s COVID Data Tracker – or via the Florida Department of Agriculture’s webpage, where state Agriculture Secretary Nikki Fried vowed Wednesday to fill the “COVID information-sharing void” by posting daily CDC data on the site and by conducting daily Facebook live-streamed briefings.

One of three Democrats seeking her party’s nod to challenge DeSantis in the 2022 gubernatorial race, Fried Wednesday said the state’s failure to post daily case counts, hospitalizations and deaths – as well as local and regional vaccination rates – is politically motivated and irresponsible.

“As Floridians in the middle of hurricane season, can you imagine if we had a report saying a storm is coming but that is all the information you get? No daily information on the track of the hurricane or how it is increasing in size,” she said Thursday. “That is what is happening here in the state of Florida.”

Floridians “need and deserve access to regular, timely updates as it relates to the ongoing pandemic,” Fried continued. “That is why I am holding regular briefings to provide needed information and coordination from the federal government, filling the COVID information sharing void that currently exists in our state.”

Fried said by the time Floridians learned the number of new cases increased by 59% last week, it was this week. She said the 8 million unvaccinated Floridians – only 48.46% of eligible Floridians are fully vaccinated – are unaware they are at dramatically increasing risk.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy last week said Florida’s rising caseload is directly related to large unvaccinated population and that daily reporting spotlights where rates are higher and lower

“What concerns me the most about Florida is that cases are rising at an alarming rate, hospitalizations are going up, and deaths are going up. And it’s being driven by the delta variant,” Murthy said. “The challenge we have in Florida, and in far too many states, is we still don’t have vaccination rates high enough, and in some pockets, we have actually vaccination rates that are quite low.”

Knowing where those “pockets” are is vital, Fried said.

“The people of Florida need and deserve access to regular, timely updates as it relates to the ongoing pandemic, not secret meetings or sporadic information sharing,” she said, referring to DeSantis’ closed-door roundtable Monday with anti-mask “experts.”

During that meeting, the governor said the DOH would not return to daily COVID-19 reporting and questioned the need to do so.

“What’s the point of tracking these cases the way we’re tracking the cases if, in fact, we believe the vaccines protect you from severe outcomes but may not necessarily protect you from testing positive?” he asked.

 

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Marcia jenkins
1 year ago

Takes class, caring, maturity, being an adult, to defy the current Gov of Fla. This guy cares only about 2 things, first himself, 2nd, the guy who many voted for, & got as the US 45th president. Gov Desantis is an ass kisser, can’t think, or won’t, for himself. Everything he does, is strictly political, & to impress someone who also only cares for himself. The crisis this nation has been facing is NEW, albeit a year old, it’s terrifying, people have died, are still dying.what kind of leader do you want dead smack in the middle of a pandemic that is infecting thousands daily, killing our mothers, father’s, brothers, sisters, children, grandparents? I want someone who will make sure I am informed. People have their individual rights, but only if they have all the facts. We all live in this world together, unless your a selfish person, you care about not spreading a virus, to ensure all of us have the right to LIVE. Just as I made sure to see Donald trump was not reelected, I will do everything in my power making sure Desantis follows in his beloveds footsteps. It takes guts to go up against a system that’s trying to deceive you, standing up for what you believe is important, so I hope she keeps right on keeping on

Clay Russell
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcia jenkins

nonsense..desantis and anymore like him are surely needed to bring a little common sense to our country. the democrats are ruining the country.

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr.
1 year ago
Reply to  Clay Russell

Nikki Fried just did, Clay. It’s called “transparency”.

Nancy Dickson
Nancy Dickson
1 year ago
Reply to  Clay Russell

common sense like throwing unvaccinated kids into an enclosed space with no masks just to see who gets infected?

w. wayne arrants
w. wayne arrants
1 year ago

I hope she is replaced.

Robert Warner
Robert Warner
1 year ago

Less of DeSantis. More of Nikki Fried. Transparency saves lives.

Tom Smith
Tom Smith
1 year ago

Fried is a political hack that is trying to make herself revelant. Thank you Governor for allowing folks to assume personal responsibility. Testing is not the issue.

Nancy Dickson
Nancy Dickson
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Smith

assume personal responsibility for infecting others? Infections that kill.

Tiffany Lamberton
1 year ago

I was tested positive for covid and I had both doses of the covid shot and my family who tested positive for covid said I look worse than they do without the shot! I had the phizer vaccine! So I would wear a mask the shot didn’t do anything for me!

Joseph Kayne
Joseph Kayne
1 year ago

Since you’re commenting on articles in the Observer, can we assume you are neither hospitalized, on a ventilator or dead. Please read about the difference between coronavirus (the infection) and COVID (the disease which is the major threat to health). You might learn that your two shots have done exactly what was promised. Kept you out of the hospital and alive.

I hope you feel better and look better soon.

Peggy Bulger
Peggy Bulger
1 year ago

Nikki Fried is giving me information that SHOULD be given from our Governor. The withholding of these FACTS on the alarming rise of cases and deaths in our state is politically motivated and dangerous. Fried is running for Governor and I hope that she wins. DeSantis is making Florida into the untimate petri dish.

Peter Johns
Peter Johns
1 year ago

Leaving the Observer. The insanity and hubris of those that condemn choice. This is a platform for nannys and emotional overlords.

Everyone is going to get the virus….VACCINATED and NOT VACCINATED……the only persons that have long term broad natural immunity are those that have had this virus.

The VACCINE is a humongous failure. Remember “Once you are vaccinated you are in the clear” The EXPERIMENT FAILED!

PERIOD!!! Stop the theatrical virtue signalling. NO MASK NO VACCINE IS GOING TO KEEP YOU SAFE.

Robert S. Warner, Jr.
Robert S. Warner, Jr.
1 year ago

Don’t slam the door on your way out.

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