The political action committee (PAC) known as Remove Ron, which targets Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, flew a banner in Florida this week blasting the governor after his administration let hundreds of thousands of tests for COVID-19 expire in the face of documented high demand for the tests around the state. Like elsewhere, Florida has been experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and related metrics — such as hospitalizations and deaths, and amid these developments, tests have sometimes proven hard to come by. And yet, Kevin Guthrie, who is director of the Florida Department of Emergency Management, confirmed recently that the state had allowed between 800,000 and 1 million rapid tests to expire.
Delayed unemployment benefits. Slow disbursement of housing assistance. Expired tests. Either this is gross government negligence or he just doesn't care (perhaps it's both). https://t.co/JWUbz4AikS
— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani 🔨 (@AnnaForFlorida) January 7, 2022
It appears to be potentially able to be determined that the tests are usable. Meanwhile, the banner from Remove Ron states that “Ron Hid The Tests.” Check out an image below or at this link:
Look what’s flying over Florida today: pic.twitter.com/i6Ko39x3yU
— Remove Ron (@RemoveRon) January 8, 2022
Guthrie claimed that state authorities “tried to give [tests] out beforehand but there was no demand for it,” which is false. On December 21, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava asked Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo that “all possible [COVID-19] tests be directed to Miami-Dade County to meet the growing demand for testing in our community.” And on December 30, Florida state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat, said that DeSantis should “release these tests immediately to local governments, and set up state-run testing sites,” adding: “To let them expire is negligent, or heartless.” Guthrie revealed on January 6 that hundreds of thousands of tests had expired.
As the country undergoes a national testing shortage, @GovRonDeSantis let as many as a million COVID tests expire.
Dereliction of duty, plain and simple. https://t.co/tXaKc3FxZP
— The Lincoln Project (@ProjectLincoln) January 7, 2022
There doesn’t appear to be a lot of… let’s just say competence defining the response to COVID-19 on the part of authorities at the state level in the state of Florida. At a recent press conference, DeSantis asked: “Before COVID, did anyone go out and seek testing to determine if they were sick? It’s usually, you feel like you’re sick, and then you get tested to determine what you maybe have come down with. And so this is kind of a new thing, where they’ve been saying just go out and test all the time.” Preventative tests have been commonly used for a long time, even if the frequency of the preventative tests used for COVID-19 is different from the one used for other such tests. DeSantis pulling this latest excuse out of his hat for his denial of the seriousness with which the pandemic ought to be approached reeks of desperation, plain and simple.
— Michael Kruse (@michaelkruse) January 8, 2022