Charlie Crist urges CDC to release Florida’s breakthrough COVID-19 data
Charlie Crist heaps praise on Joe Biden, gets blasted for it.

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The FDOH has refused to release the data citing privacy concerns.

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist is urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release Florida’s data on the vaccination status of those infected with COVID-19, including those who have been hospitalized and died from the virus.

Crist requested the data in a letter sent to CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, citing a recent report from the Tampa Bay Times that found the Florida Department of Health has been refusing requests from news organizations seeking data on “breakthrough” cases — information that would show the effectiveness of the vaccine among Floridians. The requested data would break down the number of vaccinated and unvaccinated people who have been infected, hospitalized or died of COVID-19.

The FDOH has refused to release the data out of privacy concerns, although public health and legal experts have called the concerns “misplaced,” according to the report. The CDC has also refused to release that data, deferring to the state on whether to share it publicly.

“The State of Florida claims that withholding this data is necessary to protect the personally identifiable health information of Floridians. Nonsense. I’m proud that our state has some of the strongest transparency and open government laws in the nation,” Crist continues in the letter. “In fact, Florida’s public access laws clearly state that data can be made public ‘when necessary to public health.’ If this isn’t necessary to public health — especially in the face of an omicron-driven surge — then nothing is.”

The absence of the state’s vaccination status data comes as it experiences another surge in COVID-19 cases.

In the week leading up to Christmas, Florida recorded more new COVID-19 cases — 169,618 — than in any single week during the 22-month coronavirus crisis.

The latest available federal data shows that Florida is one of five states — along with Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and California — where the numbers of new cases increased by more than 150% during that week. Florida went from having the nation’s best COVID-19 situation to having one of America’s worst in two weeks time.

“Now that we’re facing an intense outbreak of the highly infectious omicron variant, time and information are of the essence,” Crist wrote in the letter. “Our researchers, scientists, and policymakers at all levels should have a full understanding of what we know about the variant so far, as well as how it is impacting vaccinated and boosted Floridians. Additionally, accurate data on breakthrough cases will be essential for Floridians to assess their own personal risk and take actions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”

Crist goes on in the letter to criticize Gov. Ron DeSantis, calling the lack of transparency and elevated disinformation a “hallmark of the DeSantis administration.”

“Florida has refused to provide regular, useful data on COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, deaths, and vaccination rates for months — even as the state once again became the global epicenter for infections and deaths,” Crist wrote.

Crist, who is also a candidate in the 2022 gubernatorial race, also briefly criticized DeSantis’ policies in regard to the COVID-19 crisis.

“Beyond just the data, Governor DeSantis has taken repeated actions to limit the ability of business owners, schools, and local officials to take steps to curb the spread and keep our communities open and safe,” Crist wrote.

He continued to blast DeSantis’ administration in the letter by pointing to the August lawsuit filed by state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith against the Florida Department of Health to release more detailed COVID-19 data.

Kelly Hayes

Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected].

One comment

  • Impeach Biden

    January 3, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    Look at Crist wearing his mask outside like a good zombie.

Comments are closed.


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