Miami-Dade Sen. Annette Taddeo is calling on Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a second state of emergency due to COVID-19 just 86 days after the first state of emergency was lifted.
The virus’ resurgence makes a new state of emergency imperative, the Democratic lawmaker wrote in a letter dated Tuesday and sent at 11:15 a.m. She also urged him to resume daily reports on COVID-19 infection and death.
“Right now, our state is seeing similar infection and hospitalization rates that occurred in June 2020 when we witnessed peak infection rates, intubations, and deaths,” Taddeo wrote. “In order to save lives, our hospitals need the help of the state and federal government to provide the critical resources they need.”
A response from the Governor’s office and Emergency Management were not immediately available, but the Governor’s spokeswoman told the Tallahassee Democrat there were no plans for a new declaration. DeSantis first declared a COVID-19 state of emergency on March 9, 2020, extended it, and then ended it on May 3, 2021.
Trackers show that new cases of COVID-19 in Florida peaked in January when the seven-day average was at about 15,000 new cases a day, according to the New York Times tracker. Currently, with a daily average of 10,452 cases, Florida is in third for most cases among the states, behind Louisiana and Arkansas for new cases per 100,000 residents, the tracker shows.
Taddeo says that the regular rules need to be suspended to better answer the challenges that the state faces as a more contagious version of the virus spreads.
“Some of these provisions included allowing retired doctors and healthcare professionals residing outside the state to be able to practice in Florida without a state license, addressing critical staff shortages,” Taddeo wrote, also pointing out that an emergency order allows wider use of telehealth services. “Seeing as these provisions expired and we are facing similar staffing shortages, it is crucial that a state of emergency be declared to reinstate these exceptions before it is too late.”
She also said that the state needs to resume its daily reporting of new infections and deaths that stopped on June 7, replaced by weekly reports.
“It is my fear … we are not seeing the full extent of COVID-19 cases due to incomplete data,” Taddeo wrote. “With new COVID-19 infections accounting for 20% of all new cases in the United States, I urge your administration to begin reporting daily cases so that we can fully grasp our situation.”
Taddeo also called on DeSantis to remove any doubt that the vaccination against COVID-19 is safe and effective. Currently, 58.3% of Floridians older than 18 are fully vaccinated, according to the Times’ tracker.
“I urge your administration to ramp up education efforts to address vaccination hesitancy and dispel any myths or misinformation that have made individuals reluctant in taking the vaccine,” Taddeo wrote.