Charlie Crist calls for Florida Surgeon General to release information on coronavirus

Crist wrote to Dr. Rivkees that transparency is key.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is calling for the state’s Surgeon General to reveal whether there are any confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida.

The Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday there are no reported cases of coronavirus in Florida. The Tampa General Hospital revealed last week it is monitoring patients with flu-like symptoms.

“We have fully engaged our health community, hospitals, medical providers and County Health Departments to respond. We are also working lockstep with the Centers for Disease Control and Surveillance (CDC). There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Florida. However, if any were to arise, we are prepared to contain this new infection, help any individuals sickened by the virus and keep Florida safe,” responded state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees.

His offices say that per state statute, the department cannot comment on potential cases.

But Crist believes the global health emergency is more important than the state statute that allows the DOH to work in secret.

In a letter sent from Crist’s office to Rivkees, he believes Floridians are being kept from the truth and wants the state’s DOH to be transparent.

“With new information coming out every day, my constituents are concerned about what the virus could mean for them and their families and what the state of Florida is doing to keep them safe,” Crist said in the letter. “They want to be informed and engaged, not left in the dark like what they are seeing out of China.”

Crist wrote to Dr. Rivkees that transparency is key.

“Anything less than full transparency puts all Floridians at risk, especially children, expectant mothers, senior citizens, and those with compromised immune systems,” Crist said in the letter.

Last week, Crist urged the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take greater action on detecting and preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Crist isn’t the only Florida leader calling for greater action on coronavirus. U.S. Sen. Rick Scott has been openly critical of China’s lack of transparency on the scope of the epidemic and doesn’t believe the U.S. is getting accurate information from the communist nation.

In a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs round table discussion earlier this month Scott asked about risks from Chinese imports, specifically agricultural and food products like imported seafood, grains and live animals and whether the U.S. should consider a ban on Chinese imports.

Scott also called for increased screening and inspections on all products and produce coming from China. He wants to know why the U.S. isn’t using the same level of screening on imports as the government is on passengers traveling from China.

He is calling on the World Health Organization to conduct an independent investigation into the extent of the virus. He plans to ask committee members what they think the actual numbers are on infections and deaths associated with coronavirus and whether they believe China is withholding information.

Finally, Scott wants to know what steps the U.S. should be taking that have not already been taken to contain the virus and what resources are needed to aid in those efforts. 

Meanwhile, however, Gov. Ron DeSantis praised Rivkees for working with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the state’s response to the coronavirus and reiterated that the state has not had any confirmed cases.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


  • Thomas Picarella

    February 23, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    From the Desk of Sheila and Tom Picarella to the desk of Mike Bloomberg
    Mr. Bloomberg: When we awakened to hear that Trump had won, it was a very disturbing. Although, I do not wish anyone harm, Trump was an exception. His daily intrusions deleting the good things President Obama had introduced, and accomplished thru his VP Biden, Secretary of State Clinton and Secretary of State Kerry who worked with our allies to have Iran discontinue building a long range missile capable of delivering it to our allies and the USA. Trump could not leave “well enough alone’. Obviously, Trump never heard the story that Flip Wilson told about his uncle “to leave well enough alone”. A customer kept pestering Well Enough until the customer received a swift ride out the door.
    The results of Trump’s impeachment were a huge disappointment. Rome was not built in a day. Trump has changed the USA and when he does not get his way, he goes in the wrong way. Above the law, robbing the Pentagon to pay for his wall and making the Republicans in the Senate lemmings while the House Representatives like Jordan and Nunes are spying and running to Trump from House meetings to spill the beans.

    To Speaker of the House of Representatives VIA Senator Schumer – Cleaning up the Attorney General’s office.
    Impeach Barr for covering up Mueller’s investigation and the other issues he has covered up for Trump.
    Impeach McConnell for holding back President Obama’s Supreme court selection and add McConnell’s cover up Trump’s refusal to veto the House Bills.
    Trump probably has committed some wrongdoing that may make him impeachable. The Presidential Campaign is leaning in Trumps favor for another 4 years. The Democratic candidates are well intentioned, however they too are lacking civility and so providing an evil demagogue with the tools to win. Bernie and perhaps Warren do not have funding for their programs. If they win, they may not have the majority in the House or Senate. Former Vice President Biden, and Bloomberg may be the only contenders. Some of the Democratic candidates should learn how to find common ground with millionaires and Billionaires.)

    • Ron

      February 24, 2020 at 4:56 pm

      When two desks talk to each other it is a wooden conversation.

  • Robert Attkisson

    February 28, 2020 at 9:55 am

    We need to drag scott rivkees out of the office of surgeon general.and whom ever in the Senate that put rivkees in office to deceive the good citizens of Florida. I applaud Governor Crist For confronting rivkees.

Comments are closed.


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