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Florida governor goes after media who 'waxed poetically’ of Florida Covid-19 crisis, brandishing numbers

Florida governor goes after media who 'waxed poetically’ of Florida Covid-19 crisis, brandishing numbers
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis took a victory lap touting Florida’s Covid-19 improved numbers after a partial lockdown lifting, and went after the media for their doomsday predictions.

Speaking to the press on Wednesday, DeSantis said Florida has the “absolute best data” when it comes to coronavirus and anything saying otherwise is simply “typical, partisan narrative trying to be spun.”

“And part of the reason [for] that is you got a lot of people in your profession,” the governor said, pointing to the cameras and microphones in front of him, “who waxed poetically for weeks and weeks about how Florida was going to be just like New York.”

New York, with a population of over 19 million, has had over 250,000 cases and more than 28,000 deaths from the coronavirus. Though it has a larger population – 21 million – and more high-risk elderly residents, Florida has registered just over 47,000 cases and some 2,000 deaths. New York Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo, however, has received far better mainstream press coverage than DeSantis, who was lambasted for rolling back some lockdown measures too soon.

Many critics in the media predicted that Florida would end up “just like Italy” two weeks after reopening, DeSantis continued. “Well, hell, we’re eight weeks away from that and it hasn’t happened." 

Florida has been one of the first states to roll back lockdown orders and allow many non-essential businesses to reopen. 

Despite being hard hit by the virus, Florida has seen a dip in its death rate in recent days as testing across the state becomes more available. DeSantis touted his state’s numbers on Tuesday, saying that based on the positive cases found versus the number of citizens tested, Florida has a 0.64% positive rate when it comes to Covid-19.

Dr. Deborah Birx, who sits on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, has praised the Florida Department of Health for its intricate testing and online mapping system.

Earlier this week, Florida’s Covid-19 statistics were challenged by local and media outlets based on the claims of Rebekah Jones, a former staff member at the Florida Department of Health, who claimed she was fired for not manipulating coronavirus data in a positive way.

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DeSantis waved off the accusations on Wednesday by saying Jones did not have a job that required her to do anything except enter data.

“She is not an epidemiologist, she is not the chief architect of our web portal, that is another false statement, and what she was doing was she was putting data on the portal, which the scientists didn't believe was valid data,” the governor said. 

He also revealed Jones had an active warrant for “cyber stalking and cyber sexual harassment,” which reportedly relates to an ex-boyfriend accusing her of targeting him with “revenge porn.”

The governor chalked up conspiracy theories surrounding Jones and the Florida Department of Health to the media’s “need for a boogeyman.” 

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