‘This surge is real:’ Nikki Fried provides first independent COVID-19 update

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The briefing marks the first since Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended daily updates in early June.

Lamenting a “void” of COVID-19 data in Florida, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried hosted an independent pandemic briefing in the Capitol on Thursday.

Fried reported 16,038 new cases of COVID-19 and 92 additional deaths in Florida since Wednesday. Those numbers are based on data shared by the Florida Department of Health with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House, Fried said.

The pandemic-oriented briefing marks the first since Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended daily updates in early June.

Speaking to reporters, Fried criticized DeSantis for making Floridians “jump through hoops” to access timely data.

“The only reason I can even fathom of why we’re not doing them is because they don’t want to recognize our current trajectory of our spike and where the numbers are going,” Fried said.

As Florida’s only statewide elected Democrat, Fried has remained a staunch critic of DeSantis’ pandemic response since its onset.

On Thursday, she applauded the wave of local governments and corporations who are implementing various public health measures amid the resurgence of cases. Fried listed Disney, Orange County and Leon County, among others.

“These municipalities and these corporations are doing what they feel is necessary to protect themselves, their local economies and their customers,” Fried told reporters.

That said, however, Fried drew a line between encouraging vaccinations and strong-arming employees.

When asked about Leon County forcing employees to get vaccinated or face termination, Fried said such conditions of employment are not on the horizon at the Department of Agriculture.

“We are not close at all to making that sort of determination,” Fried said.

Fried, who is also vying to oust DeSantis in 2022, encouraged citizens and local leaders to do more to protect themselves.

She urged Floridians to get vaccinated, mask up and “trust the science.”

“The need for us all to do more cannot be more urgent,” Fried said.

The daily briefings come amid a dramatic spike of COVID-19 cases in Florida.

It also comes after the CDC reversed course on some masking guidelines, recommending that vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.

Citing new information about the ability of the more contagious delta variant to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC further recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

Fried noted that 66 of Florida’s 67 counties fall under the CDC recommendation.

“This surge is real,” Fried said.

Fried’s full briefing can be viewed online.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


  • Tom

    July 29, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    What’s real is Nikki Fraud is a fraud” has she dropped out yet? Just a show horse not much of a work horse. Isn’t it time to hold a press conf and show your million dollar profits is a midst of a pandemic.

    Whah a jokes
    The fraud.

  • Ed

    July 30, 2021 at 8:29 am

    Nikki “Kardashian” Fried is always on the hunt for a camera to put her face on. She is no more than a social media influencer. Maybe she will be on Big Brother one day. She was even at the White House pretending to be a Tampa Bay Buc fan a couple of weeks ago. I thought phony Fried was from South Florida. I’m figured she would be a Dolphins fan. Oh wait she is the typical front running fan. Better get on that DeSantis train Fried that is who will be the champ.

  • Tom Palmer

    July 30, 2021 at 8:53 am

    Then we have DeSantis, who occasionally takes a break from his appearances on Fox Noise to attend to state affairs.

  • Andrew Finn

    July 30, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    We all have to hope that Nikki Fried can be successful in ousting our so-called “governor” DeSantis, who is without a doubt, the biggest jackass to ever hold a political office. His response to the pandemic has been miserable since the beginning, and all Floridians are paying for it – some of them with their lives. Next year I will break my “Republican Tradition” and gladly vote for Nikki or whoever runs against that idiot !!!!!

    • Tom

      July 30, 2021 at 3:13 pm

      You aren’t a Repub. just a donkey. Dem. DeSantis is the best Governor in USA. Youngest chief exec with brains instead of hack partisan Dems. He rest the science unlike Dems.
      You have to be crazy not to support America’s Gov. Your freedom in Florida is derived from his wise governance. He protects all even Dems like you. What would you do different? Nikki Fraud says she doesn’t support lockdowns. So DeSantis was right. DeSantis is on the mark and is doing his job every day. Palmer is crazy as usual. Shame on you for how you speak about him Andrew.
      You are terribly wrong. When you combine seniors, children, working people and businesses thriving Gov Ron has saved Florida. It would be decimated by Fraud. Thank God Florida has him.

      • James

        August 6, 2021 at 3:24 pm

        This has to be the LEAST intelligent comment I have read on the internet in months….. “America’s Governor” is an absolutely comical title. Freedom in FL? You clearly don’t travel much, no state is on a lockdown anymore but I guess Fox or OAN didn’t fill you in on that one. Florida IS however the epicenter of covid cases and covid deaths. And to even utter that he’s “saved” people hahahaha. Florida is truly full of morons.

  • Hank

    August 6, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Jewish scripture condemns individuals who violate the sacred bonds of marriage and have sexual intercourse outside of marriage. Traditionally the punishment for adultery was death for both the man and woman, but, obviously, modern followers of Judaism no longer practice this punishment.

Comments are closed.


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